The Seattle Seahawks could be in the market for another pass rusher after the Atlanta Falcons released former first-round pick Takk McKinley. The defensive end was never able to perform up to expectations in Atlanta, and essentially forced his way out of town after the Falcons opted not to trade him at the deadline. McKinley took to Twitter to reveal the trades the Falcons had turned down, a move which does not tend to play well with front offices.
McKinley will be a free agent after this season and there is a reason to think the Seahawks will put in a claim for the pass rusher. The challenge is the Seahawks will be near the bottom of the claim order.
“Well… I know one team that would have interest,” Seahawks Maven’s Corbin Smith noted on Twitter. “But way down on claiming order for waivers.”
When asked about the Seahawks’ potential interest in McKinley, The Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta noted he believes the team will put in a claim but may not be high enough in the pecking order.
“For sure. But he was waived so it goes on order,” Condotta explained on Twitter.
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The Falcons Selected McKinley in the First Round of the 2017 NFL Draft
McKinley was one of the top pass-rushing prospects in the 2017 NFL Draft, and the Falcons selected the defensive end in the first round with the No. 26 overall pick. He displayed a lot of speed coming off the edge at UCLA but underwhelmed in his three and a half seasons in Atlanta. NFL analyst Cian noted on Twitter that he believes the Seahawks and Cardinals both have an interest in McKinley.
“Takk has done nothing in the NFL but so many teams are so desperate for help on [defense],” Cian tweeted. “Cardinals and Seahawks will be interested.”
McKinley had a solid start to his NFL career with six sacks his rookie season followed by seven sacks in 2018. The defensive end has had just 4.5 sacks since 2018 and failed to take the next step in his progression. ESPN NFL Draft analyst Todd McShay praised McKinley coming out of UCLA.
“He’s an undersized 4-3 defensive end; some view him as a 3-4 outside linebacker; and he could probably do a little of both,” McShay told the East Bay Times in 2017. “If he learns how to use his hands, he could be really good because he’s explosive with speed, he’s got some power, and he plays with the best motor of any defensive player I watched the entire year.”
McKinley Claimed the Falcons Turned Down a Second-Round Pick in a 2019 Trade
One of the tweets that drew the ire of the Falcons was McKinley’s claim that the team turned down a second-round pick for the pass rusher in 2019. McKinley’s claim was later refuted by the Falcons, but it appears Atlanta felt the headache was not worth seeing if the defensive end could turn things around under interim head coach Raheem Morris.
“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. 🤡🤡🤡”
Morris admitted the challenge with McKinley has been his relationship with the team off-the-field.
“When he’s playing football and he’s playing at a high level, he’s a great person to be around,” Morris explained to Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “When he’s in this mode where he doesn’t want to talk and he shies away from personal interactions and contact, that’s a problem.”
McKinley is also dealing with a groin injury that sidelined him in Week 9. If a team like the Seahawks claims McKinley, it will be revealed on Tuesday, November 10 at 4 p.m. Eastern when the NFL transactions are announced. The Seahawks traded for Carlos Dunlap despite his own attempts to get himself out of Cincinnati, so it is not out of the question that Seattle would give McKinley another opportunity despite his recent behavior.