Whether or not the Atlanta Falcons would be picking up defensive end Takk McKinley’s fifth-year option has been a source of minor intrigue as of late, and we now have an answer.
McKinley signaled on Twitter that the Falcons have declined his fifth-year option of his contract, and seemed like he was happy with the decision.
5th year declined— Takkarist McKinley (@Takk) April 29, 2020
The team confirmed McKinley’s report on Wednesday afternoon and issued a statement regarding the decision,
“We have decided to not move forward with a fifth-year option for Takk and at this time are taking a wait-and-see approach in terms of future contracts. Takk has shown the ability to produce at a high level and we look forward to his production in 2020,” the statement read.
The decision itself isn’t surprising — though McKinley is a better player than many give him credit for, he’s not quite lived up to his draft billing since being taken in the first round of the 2017 draft and has struggled with injuries on-and-off.
Dan Quinn hinted to McKinley not having his option picked up at the 2020 NFL Combine, but Thomas Dimitroff corrected the record to say no decision had been made as of yet.
A fifth-year option costs just over $10 million, per ESPN’s Vaughn McClure [The fifth-year option cost has been updated to this official number]. McKinley sharing the praise hands emoji could mean a lot of things, but your best guess either means he’s excited to get to his first contract extension early or he’s glad that this could be his last year with the Atlanta Falcons.
The move suggests Falcons and McKinley may be at an impasse and a trade may be a possibility. The Falcons would immediately need to sign a free agent to replace his snaps, but it would give the team draft capital, or even another player at a different position, to help for the future.
If McKinley walks after 2020, the team’s compensatory draft pick would depend on his contract, which would, of course, depend on how he performs in 2020. With that in mind, it may make sense to simply trade him now. The most likely scenario is that the Falcons see how McKinley performs this fall (if the season happens), and ultimately decide whether or not to keep him after that.
We’ll await for confirmation from the team, but it does seem like Takk is in a contract year.