With four key defensive linemen on injured reserve, the 49ers had nothing to lose in claiming Takkarist McKinley.
The former Atlanta Falcons edge rusher has missed five games this season due to a lingering groin injury, but his agent Jeff Tollner told NBC Sports Bay Area on Thursday that health shouldn’t be an issue. All parties are awaiting the results of McKinley’s medical exam which took place on Thursday.
“Honestly we were surprised he failed in Cincinnati,” Tollner said of McKinley. “He had the medical exam with the 49ers today, and then has to go through the COVID protocols. The earliest he can be at the facility is next week.”
After the Falcons released McKinley on Nov. 10, the former 2017 first-round pick was originally claimed by the Cincinnati Bengals, who were ahead of the 49ers in the waiver order. The Bengals released McKinley on Nov. 17, citing a failed physical.
Kyle Shanahan said Tuesday that the 49ers would attempt to claim McKinley a second time, and one day later, the team announced that Oakland native would be returning to the Bay Area.
McKinley originally showed promise in Atlanta as he recorded 13 sacks in his first two seasons, but has not been able to match that production since. Appearing in 49 games over four seasons, the defensive end has 17.5 career sacks.
Upset with his status with the Falcons, McKinley requested a trade. According to the edge rusher, his former team did not accommodate the request and subsequently McKinley took to social media to air his grievances.
While McKinley’s behavior and lack of production might raise red flags elsewhere, the 49ers need help adding depth to their defensive line that has been decimated by injury.