Falcons waive former first-round DE Takkarist McKinley

Takkarist McKinley’s wish has been granted.

The Atlanta Falcons waived the former first-round pick on Monday, the team announced.

McKinley was in the midst of a contract year in a situation that had become clear would not end with him and the Falcons renewing their partnership beyond 2020. The 26th-overall pick of the 2017 draft recorded 17.5 sacks in his three-plus seasons with the Falcons, never quite living up to his first-round status. He’d recorded eight tackles and one sack in four games in 2020 before injury pushed him to the sideline.

McKinley was open last week about his desire to leave Atlanta, voicing his frustrations via Twitter with a tweet that claimed the Falcons turned down a second-round pick in a proposed deal to send McKinley elsewhere in 2019, and “multiple” offers of fifth- and sixth-round picks for McKinley in 2020.

“I only have 17.5 career sacks,” McKinley tweeted in a self-deprecating statement with the intent to push the Falcons to move him.

McKinley ended that tweet with three clown emojis. Interim head coach Raheem Morris told reporters last week McKinley “will be held accountable,” adding “the wrong way to go about it how Takk is, to pout.”

Accountability has arrived in the form of McKinley’s release. Free to go elsewhere via waiver claim, McKinley’s next destination will be decided by the league’s waiver claim order — if a team decides to claim him.

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