Not long after signing a Cowboys deal, Takkarist McKinleyis once again in need of a new home. The Cowboys announced on Friday that they have released the journeyman edge rusher.
McKinley finished the 2022 season on Dallas’ practice squad, and he inked a contract with the team in March. Given the team’s depth on the edge, the 27-year-old faced a steep road to a 53-man roster spot, but the Cowboys made another move at the position earlier this week. The addition of Ben Banogu has resulted in McKinley being let go.
The latter began his career with the Falcons in 2017, and he faced high expectations as a first-round pick. After four seasons in Atlanta (during which he recorded 17.5 sacks in 49 games), however, he has bounced around the league for several years. McKinley briefly found himself with the Bengals, 49ers and Raiders before seeing time with the Browns in 2021.
The UCLA product logged a healthy 43% snap share in Cleveland, and he recorded 2.5 sacks in 11 contests. A torn Achilles ended his campaign that year, though, and sparked another round of deals sending him on and off active rosters and practice squads. McKinley was with the Rams to begin 2022, making four appearances in a very limited capacity before winding up in Dallas.
He will now aim to find a new opportunity deep into free agency, although more accomplished edge rushers like Markus Golden, Leonard Floydand Frank Clarkhave not landed deals of their own until very recently. Amidst a group of other veterans still on the market, McKinley may have a lengthy wait on the open market as he searches for an opportunity which could provide some much-needed career stability.
The 27-year-old has had quite the fall from grace since his rookie and sophomore seasons that saw him tally six and seven sacks, respectively. He followed that up in 2019 with a 13-start season that returned a disappointing 3.5 sacks. After that, trade rumors began to circle as the Falcons declined McKinley’s fifth-year option. This eventually lead to Atlanta waiving their former first-round pick midseason.
McKinley bounced around several times due to initial interest followed by health questions. The Bengals and 49ers both claimed the young pass rusher, waiving him shortly after when he failed his physicals. He finally landed with the Raiders but was put on injured reserve before he could see the field. He would finally see the field again with the Browns who signed him to a one-year deal after the expiration of his rookie contract. His season came to an end early, though, after a torn Achilles tendon.
After failing to find a new team in the offseason, McKinley signed to the Titans’ practice squad before the Rams signed him away from Tennessee and onto their active roster. After four games with the Rams, McKinley was released again, leading him to sign with the Cowboys. The Cowboys will give him a new chance to make the roster this summer after he failed to do so in his ten weeks on their practice squad last year.
Dallas also signed a new long snapper, according to ESPN’s Todd Archer. After the departure of Jake McQuaideto Detroit, the Cowboys have opted to replace him with former Raiders long snapper Trent Sieg. Archer further reports that Sieg’s contract is a one-year, $1.23MM deal including a $152,500 signing bonus and a base salary of $1.08MM, $250,000 of which is guaranteed. He’ll count for $940,000 against the 2023 salary cap, since his deal is a veteran salary benefit contract.
McKinley spent the first four years of his career with the team that drafted him, showing tremendous potential through his rookie and sophomore seasons. Despite only starting eight games in his first two years, McKinley made the most of his opportunities, racking up 13.0 sacks, 14.0 tackles for loss, and 25 quarterback hits. He started 13 games for the Falcons in 2019 but saw his sack production drop to half what it was the year before.
After only appearing in four games for the Falcons in 2020, McKinley officially requested a trade from Atlanta, after internally requesting a trade in private since 2019. The Falcons had rejected several trade offers in 2019 and ended up waiving their fourth-year pass rusher shortly after his public trade request. He was initially claimed by the Bengals and 49ers but, after failing physicals, returned to the waiver wire. Eventually he was claimed by the Raiders but was placed on injured reserve, where he would remain for the rest of the season.
His rookie contract expired, McKinley signed with the Browns as a free agent on a one-year contract. After a decent bounce back season as a rotational end, McKinley’s season ended late in December with a torn Achilles tendon. Coming off the season-ending injury made it hard for McKinley to find a new home. He worked out with several teams, including the Cowboys, in the offseason before eventually signing to join the Titans practice squad just after the start of the season. Only five days later, though, the Rams signed McKinley off the Titans practice squad, utilizing him sparingly over the next four weeks before ultimately cutting him a little under a month ago.
McKinley is now hoping for another chance under Quinn, who saw him at his most successful five years ago. He’ll have quite a depth chart to climb if he intends to make an impact this season. The Cowboys start DeMarcus Lawrence and Dorance Armstrong at the end position with Dante Fowler, Tarell Basham, and rookie Sam Williams rotating in behind them. It’s a strong group for Dallas and having McKinley waiting on the practice squad can make it that much more dangerous.
As the Rams continue to lose offensive linemen, they keep adding veterans. Ty Nsekhe is now on Los Angeles’ 53-man roster, agreeing to terms with the team Tuesday. The Rams signed Nsekhe off the Colts’ practice squad.
This marks a reunion for Nsekhe, who began his career in St. Louis 10 years ago. The Rams added Nsekhe as a waiver claim back in 2012 — GM Les Snead‘s first season running the team — after the Colts initially signed him as a UDFA. But the then-Missouri-stationed team moved on by 2013, sending Nsekhe on a lengthy odyssey as a backup/spot starter.
No one remains with the Rams from that 2012 team, with Johnny Hekker being released this offseason, but Nsekhe will join a squad that has added a few veterans up front in recent weeks. Oday Aboushi and Matt Skura are on Los Angeles’ active roster, having signed with the team in-season. Nsekhe’s addition comes after the Rams placed left tackle Joe Noteboom on IR; Noteboom suffered an Achilles tear in Week 6.
Nsekhe will turn 37 next week, separating him a bit from Aboushi and Skura, and has played 93 career games (17 starts). He spent time back with the Colts earlier this season, residing on Indianapolis’ practice squad, but did not see any game action. After his brief Rams stint, Nsekhe caught on with New Orleans, Washington, Buffalo and Dallas. He has not started a game since 2019 and has not logged more than one start in a season since 2018.
To run down the list of Rams O-line injuries, Noteboom joins starting left guard David Edwards and guard/center Coleman Shelton on IR. Guard fill-in Tremayne Anchrum, who was filling in as a starter after Brian Allen‘s Week 1 injury, is also on IR. Allen has not played since Week 1 but is expected to return after the team’s Week 7 bye. The Rams lost third-round rookie guardLogan Bruss to an ACL tear during the preseason.
In addition to the Noteboom and Nsekhe moves, the defending Super Bowl champions cut ties with Takkarist McKinleyand placed cornerback Grant Haley on IR. They signed McKinley off the Titans’ practice squad last month. By rule, the Rams had to carry the veteran pass rusher on their active roster for at least three weeks, but that time has passed. McKinley saw only 11 defensive snaps with the Rams during his stay back in L.A. The UCLA alum passes straight through to free agency. Although McKinley has consistently generated interest, his stock has dipped considerably since the Falcons waived him late during the 2020 season.
September 21st, 2022 at 4:42pm CST by Sam Robinson
Another Takkarist McKinley relocation is on tap. The veteran pass rusher, who had caught on with the Titans’ practice squad last week, is now L.A.-bound.
The Rams will sign McKinley off that Tennessee taxi squad, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. This move will reunite McKinley with Rams DC Raheem Morris, who formerly served as a Falcons assistant head coach and interim HC during McKinley’s time in Atlanta, and signal a return to Los Angeles. McKinley, 26, is a UCLA alum.
A former first-round pick, McKinley has bounced around the league since his Falcons stay ended during the 2020 season. He was claimed three times on waivers after that Falcons cut; the 49ers, Bengals and Raiders claimed him that year. The young edge defender landed with the Raiders, but an injury prevented him from playing any games.
Last year, McKinley caught on with the Browns, who used him mostly as a rotational player behind Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney. Late in a 2.5-sack 2021 season, McKinley went down with an Achilles tear in late December. That took the five-year veteran out of the mix for several months, but interest picked up around training camp. Although the Titans lost Harold Landry to an ACL tear just before the season, they chose not to promote McKinley to their active roster to prevent this Rams poaching.
With Von Miller now in Buffalo, Leonard Floyd anchors the defending champions’ edge-rushing corps. Considerable uncertainty exists behind Floyd. The Rams have Justin Hollins and former third-round pick Terrell Lewis as their top non-Floyd options on the edge. While McKinley is far from a sure thing at this point in his career, which has taken a downturn since some late-2010s Falcons production, he has made 27 career starts and totaled 20 sacks. Thirteen of those came between the 2017 and ’18 seasons. Morris was on Atlanta’s staff throughout McKinley’s time with the team.
This has been a rather interesting, as far as practice squads go, day for the Titans’ P-squad. Prior to losing McKinley, Tennessee signed safety Andrew Adams off the Steelers’ taxi squad and added cornerback Terrance Mitchell off the Patriots’ 16-man squad.
September 16th, 2022 at 3:23pm CST by Sam Robinson
Dealt a tough blow with Harold Landry‘s injury, the Titans are adding a piece to their edge-rushing equation ahead of Week 2. Takkarist McKinley is joining Tennessee’s practice squad.
A former first-round pick, McKinley has been on the radar for a bit now. The Cardinals and Cowboys hosted McKinley on visits during training camp. McKinley, 26, is attempting to bounce back after a December Achilles tear ended his Browns campaign.
While McKinley’s stock has fallen since his early NFL days, he does bring a high draft pedigree (26th overall in 2017) and considerable experience (60 games, 27 starts). The former Falcons draftee has 20 career sacks, though 13 of those came between the 2017 and ’18 seasons.
Despite McKinley’s sack totals dropping in recent years, the UCLA product has continued to generate interest. The 2020 season showed that. After attempting to trade McKinley ahead of that year’s deadline, the Falcons waived him. Claims kept coming in for McKinley, who saw the Bengals, 49ers and Raiders take a look. After failing physicals with Cincinnati and San Francisco, McKinley did catch on in Las Vegas. However, a November groin injury ended his Raiders tenure without any game action.
The Browns signed him in 2021 and used him in 11 games. McKinley notched 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble with Cleveland, working mostly as a rotational player behind Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney. To clear room on their 16-man practice squad, the Titans promoted defensive back Chris Jackson to their 53-man roster.
Takk McKinley has now made two visits since the start of training camp. After trekking to Dallas, the former first-round pick ventured to Arizona for a Cardinals meeting, Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com tweets. The Arizona summit commenced Tuesday.
After four seasons in Atlanta, McKinley spent the 2021 campaign in Cleveland. He finished with 2.5 sacks with the Browns, going to northeast Ohio after a complex 2020 season that involved a few waiver claims — stemming from multiple failed physicals.
But the end of McKinley’s Browns season led to a delayed 2022 timetable. McKinley, 26, suffered a torn Achilles late last season. His multiple visits suggest a return to full strength is near. That said, McKinley’s stock has dipped since the Falcons chose him 26th overall back in 2017. Atlanta waived the UCLA product in 2020, doing so after he finished with just 4.5 sacks in his final 18 games with the franchise. Over his first two seasons, however, McKinley combined for 13 sacks.
July 31: McKinley had a “positive visit” with the Cowboys but will not be signing with Dallas at this time, per Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News (via Twitter). The UCLA product always planned to take multiple visits, and he will now head off to a workout with the Cardinals. Arizona lost Chandler Jones to free agency this offseason, and while the club added two edge defenders in the third round of this year’s draft (Cameron Thomas and Myjai Sanders), having a more experienced option as part of the rotation may not be a bad idea.
Schobert is an experienced linebacker who lined up as a middle linebacker during his tenures with the Browns and Jaguars then gained some experience as an outside linebacker with the Steelers last year. Since he became a full-time starter in his sophomore season, Schobert has been a tackling machine, never failing to amass at least 100 total tackles. During his second season in Cleveland, Schobert even led the league in tackles with 144. He’s shown an ability to get in the backfield over the years, totaling 23.0 tackles for loss, 26 quarterback hits, and 11.0 sacks, and has a propensity for forcing turnovers with 10 interceptions, 30 passes defensed, and 10 forced fumbles over his six-year career.
Denver has been shuffling around it’s linebackers this offseason including moving Baron Browning, who started inside for the Broncos last year, to outside linebacker. It vastly increased the outside linebacker depth behind star Bradley Chubb with the additions of free agent Randy Gregory and rookie second-round pick Nik Bonitto adding to the depth of Browning and Malik Reed, who were already there. Those moves resulted in a bit of a vacuum behind starting inside linebackers Alex Singleton and Josey Jewell. Schobert would be an excellent addition to the inside linebacker depth in Denver, while having the versatility to contribute on the outside if needed, as well.
McKinley is much more of a pass rusher than Schobert, collecting 20.0 sacks, 25.0 tackles for loss, and 53 quarterback hits during a four-year tenure in Atlanta and a year in Cleveland. What’s limited McKinley is that he doesn’t offer much more on defense. He can impose his presence at the line of scrimmage and influence plays, but he doesn’t tend to get to the ball-carrier often, owning a career-high of only 29 total tackles in a season. He’s also shown less of an impact as of late. After recording 13.0 sacks in his first two seasons, McKinley has only tallied 7.0 in the three years since.
McKinley is a former-first round pick of Cowboys defensive coordinator (and former Atlanta head coach) Dan Quinn. The familiarity with Quinn’s system, in which he’s shown the most productivity, could help him land a roster spot. Besides his previous relationship with Quinn, McKinley faces an uphill battle to make the roster as the Cowboys are already fairly stacked at defensive end. Dallas brought in Dante Fowler to start opposite DeMarcus Lawrence and drafted Ole Miss single-season sack record-holder Sam Williams in the second round. McKinley could potentially attempt to provide an improvement above backups Tarell Basham, Dorance Armstrong, and Chauncey Golston, but those three were all with the team last year and will have to be unseated.
Word will likely arrive in the coming days determining if either Schobert or McKinley will get an opportunity with a new team. If not, the two veterans will remain top names to keep track of on the defensive free agent market.
December 21st, 2021 at 10:59am CST by Zachary Links
Takk McKinley‘s season is over. On Tuesday, doctors confirmed that the defensive end has in fact suffered a torn Achilles (Twitter link via Josina Anderson). McKinley will be placed on injured reserve this week, allowing the Browns to fill his spot on the 53-man roster.
McKinley, 26, had to be carted off after a non-contact injury in the third quarter of last night’s game. The Raiders went on to beat the Browns 16-14, dragging Cleveland’s playoff odds down even further. At 7-7, they now have a 15% chance of sneaking into the playoffs, per the stats at Five Thirty Eight. The Raiders, also stationed at 7-7 but with no hope of winning their division, have an 11% chance.
The timing is especially terrible for McKinley since he’s on track for free agency in the spring. The Browns had him on a one-year, $4.25MM deal with the potential to reach $6MM through incentives. Even with the usual dearth of quality pass rushers on the market, his next contract will likely be for less.
The Browns, without the former first-round pick, will travel to Green Bay to face the Packers on Christmas Day.