SF 49ers news: Niners boost pass rush by adding Takkarist McKinley

Atlanta Falcons defensive end Takkarist McKinley (98) Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Atlanta Falcons defensive end Takkarist McKinley (98) Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

According to an ESPN report, the 49ers got their claim on former Falcons EDGE Takkarist McKinley, bolstering a banged-up pass rush.

The SF 49ers reportedly tried once to add former Atlanta Falcons EDGE Takkarist McKinley, only to see him go to the Cincinnati Bengals on waivers on Nov. 10.

But McKinley, the Falcons’ Round 1 pick of the 2017 NFL Draft, failed his physical with the Bengals shortly thereafter, resulting in him going back on the waiver wire where head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters the Niners would put a claim on him.

With a 4-6 record and the waiver order going in reserve from league standings, San Francisco stood a good shot at landing him.

And according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Wednesday afternoon, the SF 49ers did:

There’s natural concern whether or not McKinley will be able to pass his second physical, this time with the Niners. So, news on that will be pending.

But in the short- and long-term schemes, the move makes sense for San Francisco. Shanahan’s defense already lost premier edge rushers Nick Bosa and Dee Ford to injuries this season, and neither player is expected back anytime soon. In a patchwork move, the SF 49ers inked free-agent EDGE Ezekiel Ansah, but his tenure with the Niners lasted a mere two games before he also landed on injured reserve.

To date, the Niners have generated a mere 18 sacks. In his four-year career, McKinley has 17.5 sacks.

SF 49ers can benefit from a potential free-agent departure

True, San Francisco isn’t swimming in cap space. But according to ESPN’s Field Yates, McKinley is only due roughly $875,000 for the rest of the season, making it relatively easy for the SF 49ers to squeeze him in underneath their lowish amount of cap room.

Atlanta never picked up McKinley’s fifth-year option, making him a free agent in 2021. Depending on what the Niners do with Ford next season, McKinley could end up being a cheaper option if they deem him a good long-term fit, something surely not out of the question considering he’s only 25 years old.

If he leaves, though, there’s a high chance San Francisco would receive a compensatory draft pick in 2022 for his departure.

Provided McKinley qualifies, of course, which would hinge on the kind of deal he inks next season.

Next. 5 high-priced players 49ers might move on from in 2021. dark

For now, the SF 49ers should hopefully feel a bit better about their scuffling pass rush, at least hoping McKinley adds a bit more thump if he passes his physical with his new team.