The Atlanta Falcons reportedly have been listening to offers for Takk McKinley, if not actively shopping the veteran defensive end. Takk was one of the few players who made sense for the team to dangle at the deadline, given that he’s barely been able to play this season due to injury and has an expiring deal, yet is young enough and has shown enough promise in the past to bring back a return.
Apparently the Falcons haven’t gotten a return they liked and likely will not, because Takk is not being traded, per...well, Takk.
The @AtlantaFalcons aren’t trading me. They have declined a handful of offers.— Takkarist McKinley (@Takk) November 2, 2020
It’s a little surprising the Falcons couldn’t get a return they liked, but without knowing what they were targeting and what they were offered, it’s hard to say whether they should have moved ahead. Unlike Vic Beasley, who was also dangled at the deadline last year, Takk has been a solid player when he’s on the field and looked very good in the first week of the season, but he’s also played just 85 snaps (or 16% of Atlanta’s total) in four games thus far in 2020, managing a sack, 8 pressures, and 7 quarterback hits along the way. There are contenders in need of some pass rushing help who could’ve used that help, but the combination of McKinley’s looming free agency and question marks over his availability might have conspired to drive his value down.
Takk hasn’t had the career he or Atlanta envisioned when they traded up to pick him in the first round back in 2017, putting up just 17.5 sacks and missing 7 games in his first four seasons. A dive beyond the surface sacks stats reveals a solid player at worst, though, one with 45 quarterback hits over his first four seasons and 53 combined pressures over the past three seasons, per Pro Football Reference. He’s shown an ability to win at the line of scrimmage and is a solid run defender, but obviously the sack production that would help him cash a big paycheck when his contract is up haven’t come. That and health (he played 14 games last year and just half of the games thus far in 2020) likely conspired to convince the team not to pick up his fifth year contract option, which will make him an unrestricted free agent next season.
If Takk is healthy the rest of the way and stays in Atlanta, he’ll get plenty of opportunities to showcase his talent, likely pushing Steven Means and others aside to take on starter’s snaps at defensive end. The Falcons can certainly use that help, given that the team has just 12 sacks besides the one he put up on the first snap of the year.
It is Takk’s birthday today, so I’m hoping staying in Atlanta is good news for him. We’ll hope he’s healthy and productive for the second half of the season so he can land the deal he’d like in 2021, either with the Falcons or a new team.