Falcons head coach Dan Quinn told reporters earlier Tuesday that the team is undecided on whether to exercise the fifth-year option in edge rusher Takkarist McKinley‘s rookie contract, according to Jason Butt of The Athletic Atlanta. Butt first reported that Quinn said the team would decline McKinley’s option just after general manager Thomas Dimitroff said the team had yet to make a decision. When Quinn was asked to clarify, he deferred to Dimitroff and said the team was “still deciding.”
McKinley has failed to develop in the way Atlanta hoped when they selected him with the 26th overall pick back in the 2017 NFL Draft. While he has consistently taken the field for the Falcons and put up reasonable production, he has yet to emerge as a legitimate game-changer.
As a rookie, McKinley appeared as a rotational pass rusher in all 16 games and accrued 6.0 sacks. In his sophomore campaign, McKinley started 8 games, recorded 22 tackles, and 7.0 sacks and expectations were he could become a game-changer with time. However, in 2019, McKinley turned in his least productive campaign even while receiving the most playing time of his career (13 starts).
McKinley’s fifth-year option would be above eight figures and would be a very large gamble on a player who has yet to take the next step at the NFL level.