NFL Football

Falcons won't commit to DE Takk McKinley past 2020 season

Atlanta Falcons defensive end Takkarist McKinley (98) rushes in against the Carolina Panthers during an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Atlanta. The Falcons won the game 40-20. (Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini)

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) The Atlanta Falcons say they are taking a “wait-and-see approach” with defensive end Takk McKinley's future with the team.

The Falcons say they are declining their fifth-year option with McKinley for 2021 “at this time.” If the team had exercised the fifth-year option, McKinley could have been an unrestricted free agent in 2022. Instead, he can become a free agent in 2021.

McKinley, a first-round pick in 2017, has 16 1/2 sacks through three seasons. He had 3 1/2 sacks in 14 games, including 13 starts, in 2019. He

of the season with a shoulder injury. He has had surgeries to both shoulders.

McKinley will earn a base salary of $1.86 million in 2020 in the final year of his $10.2 million, four-year deal. The Falcons have left open the possibility of another deal with McKinley after the season.

The Falcons cut Vic Beasley Jr. before signing free agent outside linebacker Dante Fowler to a $48 million, three-year contract. Fowler is expected to boost the team's weak pass rush.

The Falcons said in a statement on Wednesday McKinley “has shown the ability to produce at a high level and we look forward to his production in 2020.”

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Updated April 29, 2020

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