After a career with the Atlanta Falcons that ended in an acrimonious divorce and a tenure with the Cincinnati Bengals that lasted less than a week, Takk McKinley has found his third team inside of a month.
The former first-round defensive end has been claimed by the San Francisco 49ers, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
McKinley hit waivers on Tuesday after failing a physical with the Bengals, who had recently acquired him via waiver claim from the Atlanta Falcons. Per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, the Bengals beat out the Niners, Cleveland Browns and Las Vegas Raiders for McKinley. The Niners had the worst record of the three other teams, giving them first dibs for the pass-rusher among the three (though it’s unknown if the same teams put in a claim).
This all was the result of McKinley’s persistent attempts to get out of Atlanta weeks ago, publicly complaining about the team not trading him when they supposedly had a valuable offer for him. After a fine and a reprimand from Falcons coach Raheem Morris, McKinley got his wish when the Falcons released him.
Now, McKinley is joining a Niners defensive line that has a use for even a first-round bust.
The Niners’ defensive line has been a wreck
A year ago, the Niners had arguably the most fearsome defensive line in the NFL. Nick Bosa, DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead, Solomon Thomas — all former first-round picks that made life rough for opposing quarterbacks.
None of those players are practicing with the Niners right now. Bosa and Thomas have been out for the season since Week 1. Buckner was traded in the offseason. Armstead just hit the reserve/COVID-19 list, and was joined by 2020 first-round defensive lineman Javon Kinlaw for good measure.
It’s been that kind of season for the Niners, and now they’re turning to McKinley. The 25-year-old has recorded only eight tackles and one sack in four games this season, but it will have to do.
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