Atlanta’s general manager Thomas Dimitroff first officially announced they were still deciding on McKinley. Coach Dan Quinn had a different idea.
According to TheAthletic.com Jason Butt, Quinn said the fifth-year option wasn’t being picked up. And then when Butt asked for confirmation Quinn said they were “still deciding.” It looks like Dimitroff and Quinn are not on the same page or they’re not ready to announce it.
Need McKinley At 100%
McKinley has become known as a competitor over his three years in the league. He’s always pressuring the quarterback, but can’t always finish the job. This has been a problem for the Falcons and one they want to address come draft day. McKinley will really need to prove himself if he wants to stay in Atlanta.
As a Falcon, McKinley has played in a total of 45 games and made 21 starts. He has 16.5 sacks, including a high of 7.0 in 2018. He tried to play through his shoulder injury and finished with 3.5 sacks before have to step off the field and get surgery. This will be his third shoulder injury.
In order to keep him, the Falcons would really need McKinley to recover not 50% or ever 99%, but 100% from his shoulder surgery and come back on top. The team is hoping that new defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi can turn McKinley back around into a sack leader.
It seems likely he won’t be picked up, but the Falcons don’t have a lot of spending room unless the CBA is ratified. However, if he is, it will be quite the project to get McKinley back on track, but Lupoi is a coach the Falcons can trust with that.
McKinley has a $3.25 million cap hit this year. If his option is not picked up, the 2020 season will be the end of his rookie contract.
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Coach Lupoi’s Resume
Coach Tosh Lupoi was hired back in January as the defensive line/run game coordinator (for defensive ends).
Before coming to Atlanta, Lupoi spent the 2019 season as the Cleveland Browns‘ defensive line coach. The Browns ranked No. 20 in the NFL with 38 sacks. Their defense allowed 144.7 rushing yards per game and 5 rushing yards per play last season.
Lupoi also spent five seasons as a member of the defensive staff at Alabama under Nick Saban. He first spent time as an analyst then began to work with the team’s outside linebackers. In 2016 he was named co-defensive coordinator.
With Lupoi’s contribution, Alabama’s defense finished as the best scoring in both the 2016 and 2017 seasons. In 2018 he was named defensive coordinator for the Crimson Tide in 2018. By the end of the 2018 season, Alabama had the 12th-best scoring defense and registered the fifth-most sacks in the country.
Honestly, Lupoi is a jackpot find for the Falcons defense has needed as they try to turn it around this season.