Source: Eric Ebron, Steelers reach 2-year, $12M deal

Ebron provides Steelers insurance at TE (0:56)

Adam Schefter explains that Eric Ebron will provide the Steelers another option at tight end with Vance McDonald. (0:56)

The Pittsburgh Steelers have reached a deal with tight end Eric Ebron, he told ESPN's Josina Anderson on Friday.

The two-year deal is worth $12 million, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter, and it fills a major need for the Steelers.

"[Steelers coach Mike Tomlin] told me he's been on me since I was a Tar Heel, and he's happy to get one of the guys he wanted out of college," Ebron told ESPN's Anderson. "He said being a defensive coach, he knows I'm hard to game plan against, and I'm excited to come."

The Steelers needed a tight end who could be a threat in the receiving game, something they lacked last year. In addition to 2019 draft pick Zach Gentry, the Steelers retained fellow tight end Vance McDonald for another season, but he had an underwhelming 2019 season with just three touchdowns and 273 yards on 38 receptions.

With a more stable quarterback situation going forward, McDonald's numbers should pick up, but the Steelers needed another reliable, big target to join the room -- and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger got just that in Ebron.

Ebron, who was used more like a hybrid receiver during his two seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, had 31 receptions for 375 yards and three touchdowns before his 2019 season came to an end after an ankle injury in Week 12.

The decision to shut it down for the season was made on his own and it didn't sit well with the organization, as Colts general manager Chris Ballard made clear during his season-ending news conference.

Ebron, who turns 27 in April, lacked consistency last season, despite meeting with Colts coach Frank Reich about having a bigger role in the offense, and he had five dropped passes. The drop-off was quite significant from 2018, when he set career highs with 66 receptions, 750 yards and 13 touchdowns to earn his first Pro Bowl appearance in his first season with the Colts.

He was selected with the 10th overall pick in the 2014 draft by the Detroit Lions, with whom he played four seasons. Overall, in six seasons, Ebron has 283 receptions for 3,195 yards and 27 touchdowns. He also has rushed for two scores.

ESPN's Brooke Pryor and Mike Wells contributed to this report.