I don't think that the Steelers’ situation at the tight end position is that bad, but unfortunately, It comes down to the injury report. The team acquired Vance McDonald from the 49ers right before the 2017 opener, but can they rely on the big man to stay healthy? The trio of McDonald, Jesse James and Xavier Grimble would be a solid stable, but McDonald was only available for ten games last year.
The team has just listed McDonald as the starter on the depth chart, and I doubt they wade in the waters of free agency, but there are good names topping the list of available tight ends if they choose to do so.
Jimmy Graham - Seattle Seahawks
The price tag is hard to figure for Graham, who at 31 has struggled with injuries and had 5.1 less yards-per-reception and only 520 yards in 2017. However, his ten touchdowns last year make him a red zone gem. I see a McDonald/James platoon here still, but Graham is still a scoring machine.
Trey Burton - Philadelphia Eagles
Burton's TD pass in the Super Bowl made his star shine brighter, but it is obvious that Zach Ertz is "the guy" in Philadelphia. Burton could be a star in another venue. With 248 yards and five scores in 2017, the extremely athletic Burton is going to see more green. He'd be a great find for the Steelers, but the cap room won't allow it.
Tyler Eifert - Cincinnati Bengals
When healthy, Eifert is an absolute stud. But when was the last time he was completely healthy? The Notre Dame product has played only ten games the past two seasons due to back issues. He could come as a bargain, but the Steelers have been cursed with injury woes by their TE newcomers as of late. Ladarius Green and Vance McDonald played sparingly after joining the Steelers and were besieged with injuries, but shined when healthy. Eifert is too much of a risk and if you're going to roll the dice, roll it on Vance.
Virgil Green - Danver Broncos
The Steelers have room for a blocking tight end. If the price is right, I could see the Steelers looking for a blocking specialist like the Bronco TE. Green only has 71 career catches in seven seasons. He could be a bargain for the Steelers to platoon.
Austin Sefarian-Jenkins - New York Jets
After three seasons of despair on the football field, ASJ showed promise with 50 catches in 2017. However, Jenkins is a character risk and has seemed lackadaisical since coming into the league. The Steelers will shy away from Jenkins if they even look at the position in free agency.
Other Notable Free Agent Tight Ends
Cameron Brate (RFA) - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Antonio Gates - Los Angeles Chargers
Ben Watson - Baltimore Ravens
Ed Dickson - Carolina Panthers
Troy Niklas - Arizona Cardinals