Signing Takk McKinley shouldn’t preclude Browns from drafting an edge rusher.
The Browns finally acquired defensive end Takk McKinley, after trying twice to claim him off waivers during the 2020 season.
It’s a low-risk deal for Cleveland GM Andrew Berry, who acquired McKinley on a one-year pact that will pay $4.25 million. The Browns were reportedly in play for free agents such as Bud Dupree and Trey Hendrickson, but after seeing those players sign astronomical contracts, a future in Cleveland wasn’t meant to be.
Cleveland’s analytically oriented front office really wanted McKinley, evidenced by Cleveland’s effort to acquire him last season. With this in mind, he’ll certainly be given an opportunity to compete for the starting job. As of now, he’ll battle Porter Gustin, Cameron Malveaux and Curtis Weaver for regular-season reps.
It’d be great if you could just declare McKinley the starter, but his stock is down. He totaled 13 sacks in his first two seasons, but tallied just 4.5 over the past two years. Atlanta gave up on him, deciding to pick up his fifth-year option. The Falcons waived him last season after McKinley he asked to be traded then stated on social media that Atlanta had turned down a second-round pick for him.
Signing McKinley shouldn’t preclude Cleveland from selecting a defensive end come draft day. Your guess is as good as mine regarding who will be available when Cleveland picks. No matter whom the Browns choose, they’ll be taking someone who needs time to incubate. We’ll all read about the physical tools the individual possesses, but make no mistake about it–it’d be unfair to expect them to be a day-one starter.
Having McKinley certainly would take the pressure off a rookie.
The Browns could always pick a corner, as Denzel Ward, Greedy Williams and M.J. Stewart as the only cornerbacks under contract. Terrance Mitchell found a two-year, $7.5 million contract with the Texans.