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Falcons decline fifth-year option on Takkarist McKinley

Takkarist McKinley could be entering his final season in Atlanta.

The Falcons declined to pick up McKinley's fifth-year option Wednesday, the team announced.

"We have decided to not move forward with a fifth-year option for Takk and at this time are taking a wait-and-see approach in terms of future contracts," the team said in a statement. "Takk has shown the ability to produce at a high level and we look forward to his production in 2020."

McKinley tweeted earlier Wednesday about the team's decision on his option and tacked on the praying hands emoji, which could be interpreted in a couple of different ways.

McKinley's career appeared poised to take off in 2019 after two seasons of at least six sacks, but he took a step back statistically, finishing with 3.5 sacks in 2019. Sacks are an incomplete stat used for evaluation, but the Next Gen Stats back up McKinley's struggles to make a difference. The defensive end finished with a disruption rate of 11.2 percent, which ranks among notable NFL havoc-wreakers Cameron Jordan and Kenny Clark, but there's a key detail missing: Jordan's 11.2 percent came on exactly twice as many pass-rushing downs in 2019. Clark wasn't far behind, posting an 11.1 disruption rate on 467 pass-rushing downs, as opposed to McKinley's 259 pass-rushing snaps.

Another metric, quarterback pressure rate, might help us here. At just 8.5 percent, McKinley's is very much average, ranking among defenders like Kamalei Correa and Carl Nassib. Then again, Bud Dupree just earned the franchise tag after posting a QB pressure rate of 8.6, although he did get home more often as evidenced by his 11.5 sacks.

Most of this is not worth the financial bump associated with a fifth-year option. Atlanta is instead waiting for McKinley to prove himself.

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