The Dallas Cowboys have re-signed pass rusher Takk McKinley amid another flurry of roster moves continuing a busy offseason in Big D. Dallas announced the re-signing of McKinley, fellow pass rusher Dante Fowler and the addition of new long snapper Trent Sieg. The Cowboys previously signed McKinley along with wideout Antonio Callaway to the team’s practice squad last November, but the former first-round pick was once again a free agent.
McKinley has yet to play a snap for Dallas but still offers the team plenty of upside given his relationship with Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn. When Atlanta selected McKinley with the No. 26 overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft, Quinn was the Falcons head coach and worked with the pass rusher during his first four seasons. This included McKinley’s best season where the defensive end notched 22 tackles, 15 quarterback hits and seven sacks in 15 appearances (with eight starts) during 2018.
After being released by the Falcons in 2020, McKinley bounced around signing with six teams prior to joining the Cowboys. The former UCLA standout played four games for the Rams in 2022 before being cut in October.
The terms of McKinley’s latest contract were not disclosed, but it is likely another prove-it deal meaning the pass rusher will have to fight for a roster spot. McKinley signed a one-year, $277,200 practice squad contract with the Cowboys last season, per Spotrac. The defender initially inked a four-year, $10.2 million rookie deal with the Falcons.
Dan Quinn on Takk McKinley: ‘I Loved the Speed & the Length’
Dallas is giving McKinley another opportunity hoping that the former highly touted prospect can emerge as a contributor following his first full offseason with the Cowboys. During a March 2021 interview with Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot, Quinn expressed plenty of optimism in McKinley’s upside after he joined the Browns.
“I loved the speed and the length,’’ Quinn remarked at the time. “He’s got really long arms, he’s super fast. I loved that he was just relentless in the way that he went about it. I thought, ‘OK, here’s somebody that you think can develop and go do it.’’’
Heading Into the Draft, Takk McKinley Drew Comparisons to 5-Time Pro Bowler Tamba Hali
McKinley posted 50 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, ten sacks and six pass deflections in 11 games during his senior season at UCLA. Heading into the draft, NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein compared McKinley to five-time Pro Bowl legend Tamba Hali.
“Ascending edge prospect who racked up impressive TFL and sack numbers this year despite a relatively raw approach and skill set,” Zierlein said of McKinley at the time. “He’s a little stiff in his lower body, but flashes good athleticism once the ball is snapped. McKinley’s motor is a translatable characteristic, but improved hand usage and pass rush mechanics are what could elevate his game to another level as a starting, 3-4 outside linebacker.”
Dallas headed into the offseason with limited resources to try to retain their imposing defensive unit. The Cowboys were able to re-sign a number of key free agents including Fowler, linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, safety Donovan Wilson and cornerback C.J. Goodwin. Dallas also pulled off a significant trade to land star corner Stephon Gilmore giving the Cowboys an impressive secondary trio pairing the former Pro Bowler alongside Trevon Diggs and DaRon Bland heading into 2023.