The San Francisco 49ers made good on their second opportunity to claim former Atlanta Falcons defensive end Takk McKinley. The pass rusher is headed to the Bay Area after failing a physical with the Bengals, who beat out the 49ers and other teams to snag McKinley after being released by the Falcons.
Prior to being claimed by the Bengals, Kyle Shanahan denied the 49ers were interested despite multiple reports indicating that they had put in a claim for McKinley. The Bengals had been able to add McKinley the first time around by virtue of having a worse record than the Niners. After McKinley failed his physical, Shanahan admitted the 49ers had put in an initial claim and planned to do so again after the Bengals passed on adding the pass rusher.
“I was told today that Takk failed his physical and I know we put in a claim last time,” Shanahan said, per USA Today. “So, I don’t think that’s until tomorrow at 1:00, but I know we plan on putting another claim in.”
McKinley Is Dealing With a Groin Injury
McKinley’s groin injury is believed to be the reason the defensive end did not pass the Bengals’ physical. The pass rusher’s injury was public knowledge prior to his release from the Falcons. Each team has its own standards for physicals, and the Niners are planning on being able to add the defensive end after he goes through the COVID-19 protocols.
The Falcons selected McKinley with the No. 26 pick of the 2017 NFL Draft, and he was widely viewed as one of the top pass rushers in the class. McKinley showed flashes of his potential early in his career with the Falcons. He had six sacks in his rookie season and followed it up with seven sacks in 2018. Since his solid start, McKinley has only had 4.5 sacks the last two seasons including just one in 2020 prior to his release.
“The #49ers have claimed @Takk off waivers,” the 49ers announced on Twitter. “McKinley is available to join the team pending the completion of COVID-19 protocols and the passing of a physical.”
McKinley Posted Previous Trade Details on Social Media
The Falcons failed to pick up his fifth-year option, but McKinley fell out of favor with the team after posting details of trade opportunities Atlanta allegedly turned down. McKinley’s tweets were odd given he took a shot at his own inconsistent production but clearly was trying to force his way out of Atlanta.
“These @AtlantaFalcons turned down a 2nd round draft pick when I requested to get traded last year,” McKinley noted on Twitter less than a week before his release. “The same @AtlantaFalcons turned down a 5th and 6th round draft pick from multiple teams when I requested to get traded this year. I only have 17.5 career sacks. 🤡🤡🤡”
The 49ers are hoping that a change of scenery can help McKinley reach his full potential. It will be worth watching to see how McKinley’s injury improves as the pass rusher has just a few games left to show production before hitting free agency in the offseason.