5 bargain deals SF 49ers can make before trade deadline
By Peter Panacy
No. 4: SF 49ers reinforce defensive line with Falcons’ Takkarist McKinley
Based on where Atlanta Falcons EDGE Takkarist McKinley was originally drafted — Round 1, No. 26 overall in 2017 — this might not seem like a bargain-type deal.
But the fact is McKinley hasn’t quite impressed at the level he was initially thought to be at four years into his pro career. After registering a combined 13 sacks between 2017, McKinley has dealt with injuries and underachievement. Following Atlanta’s sacking of head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff earlier this season, it’s likely the Falcons are going to do a lot of proverbial “soul-searching” on defense this offseason.
Part of that likely involves moving McKinley, whose fifth-year option wasn’t picked up. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported Atlanta is potentially shopping the 24-year-old edge rusher before the deadline:
The SF 49ers, who are without EDGE Nick Bosa for the year and aren’t certain when fellow EDGE Dee Ford (back) will return, could stand for some reinforcements in the pass-rush department. McKinley played in a Niners-like defensive scheme under Quinn, so his transition to coordinator Robert Saleh’s own 4-3 scheme wouldn’t be too difficult.
Now, the idea of trading for a pending free agent doesn’t seem smart, especially if it involves a day-two pick in 2021, too.
But adding McKinley would give the Niners a bit more flexibility in handling Ford’s situation, since his own injuries have been painful financially, considering his $6-plus million against the cap this season.
If the SF 49ers want to move on from the oft-injured Ford in 2021, adding McKinley and re-signing him on a cheaper deal would be a decent way to go about it.