Takkarist McKinley finally got what he’s been wanting and is headed out of Atlanta.
The fourth-year defensive end and former first-round pick of the Atlanta Falcons was claimed by the Cincinnati Bengals via waivers on Wednesday. McKinley was waived by the Falcons earlier this week after spending three and a half seasons with the team.
According to NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport, Cincinnati wasn’t the only team interested as the Cleveland Browns, Las Vegas Raiders and San Francisco 49ers also put in claims. It’s odd that the Dallas Cowboys didn’t.
Bengals Players Celebrated The Move
The 2-5-1 Bengals are not shying away from continuing to add to head coach Zac Taylor’s roster.
Though McKinley isn’t the most productive pass rusher in the league, he has made quite a name for himself from earlier seasons, so Cincy knows what could come from his raw talent.
While he and the Falcons didn’t get along so well, the Bengals are excited to have him on board. Bengals star running back Joe Mixon commented on the Bengals’ official Twitter announcement with plenty of excitement. Got to be a good feeling for McKinley when one of the best in the business is excited to be your teammate.
Hell Yeah Let’s Get it TakK! Yay Area🤟🏽 https://t.co/VbnMXCGGGs
— ⚡️Primetime!!!⚡️ (@Joe_MainMixon) November 11, 2020
Newcomer Mike Daniels chimed in on the surprise transaction as well, noting that the Bengals “clearly value tough, mean players.”
In two weeks we get Spain and now Takk?????
The AFC North is a physical division and clearly @Bengals value tough, mean players.
— Mike Daniels (@Mike_Daniels76) November 11, 2020
But the best part is, McKinley who loves to tweet so much, has old tweets on his account roasting his new team.
Bengals so trash 🚮
— Takkarist McKinley (@Takk) November 17, 2015
It gets worse lol pic.twitter.com/DuWhQqV73h
— Falcons Kingdom (@FalconsKingdom) November 11, 2020
It’s honestly so funny, you almost have to respect it. It’ll be interesting to see if some new teammates or fans hold these tweets against him for however long he sticks around in Cincy.
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Takk Wanted to Leave Atlanta
Leading up to the NFL trade deadline on November 3, rumors were swirling around McKinley, including that the Falcons reportedly had offers to deal the 25-year-old but didn’t jump at any. We found this out from Takk himself, who tweeted the update on his personal account about 24 hours ahead of the league’s deadline.
The @AtlantaFalcons aren’t trading me. They have declined a handful of offers.
— Takkarist McKinley (@Takk) November 2, 2020
He kept on with more tweets, referencing the organization as clowns for not trading him when they were offered a second-round draft pick in return in 2019. The fourth-year pass rusher also shared that Atlanta had turned down a fifth and sixth-round pick in exchange for him as recently as this season.
Interim head coach Raheem Morris considered suspending McKinley for his actions but decided to fine him an undisclosed amount instead, just a few days before letting him go. You have to respect Atlanta for giving the disgruntled defender what he wanted or perhaps saving themselves from further leaks of confidential team news.
Thank you @AtlantaFalcons for the opportunity to realize a life long dream/goal. And thank you to the fans and the city of Atlanta…
— Takkarist McKinley (@Takk) November 11, 2020
Takk Has Work to Do
McKinley has been nursing a groin injury since Week 2, which has kept him from playing most of the 2020 season already. He has been under the injury spell for two seasons now, losing most of any trade value he once had.
In the four games Takk has played this fall, he recorded just 8 tackles and 7 hits on the quarterback. For his career, McKinley started 25 games for the Falcons while in Atlanta. He leaves the Brotherhood behind having posted 79 total tackles, 45 quarterback hits, 22 tackles for loss and 17.5 sacks.
While he’s recently been a bust due to injuries, McKinley recently lost over 40 pounds to “move faster” and is capable of a lot more when he is 100% healthy. Time will tell if the Bengals can get some use out of the once-coveted pass rusher before he hits the free agent market in 2021.