Earlier today, Atlanta Falcons defensive end Takk McKinley, sent out a tweet confirming what most fans already knew; his fifth-year option was declined. McKinley announced it himself via twitter:

 Back in February Falcons head coach and general manager, Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff were asked about potentially picking up McKinley’s option. Dimitroff said it was undecided, while Quinn gave early corroboration that Atlanta didn’t plan on extending McKinley’s stay. Journalist Jason Butt asked Quinn to clarify, replaying “Go with what Thomas Dimitroff said.”

In his first three seasons with Atlanta, McKinley has been nothing short of confusing. At times, he’s shown flashes of house-hold name potential. On the other hand –  you almost forget he’s even on the field. In his short career, McKinley recorded 16.5 sacks, 71 total tackles, 21 tackles for loss, 2 forced fumbles, and 38 quarterback hits in 45 games. 

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They’re certainly not elite stats, but they aren’t bad for a rotational pass rusher; which was ultimately his role. McKinley has only started 21 of his 45 career games. He’s an impairment against the run game, which has stunted his play-time. Fundamentally, his play has lived up to the first-round selection the Falcons spent on him. With a strong season, he could earn a large extension from Atlanta which would eliminate the need to draft another pass rusher;  the pinnacle of this Falcons team success. 

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