Bengals claim Takk McKinley off waivers

091320 Atlanta: Atlanta Falcons defensive end Takk McKinley reacts to sacking Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson on his first offensive play of the game Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

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091320 Atlanta: Atlanta Falcons defensive end Takk McKinley reacts to sacking Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson on his first offensive play of the game Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, in Atlanta. (Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Former Falcons defensive end Takk McKinley, who was released Monday, was claimed off waivers by the Cincinnati Bengals on Wednesday, the Bengals announced.

The Bengals were in the market for defensive line help after trading veteran Carlos Dunlap to Seattle. The Bengals have only 11 sacks, which is tied for the fourth-fewest in the NFL.

The Bengals have a connection to McKinley, as their director of pro scouting Steven Radecivic is a former head of football operations at UCLA.

McKinley, 25, the Falcons' first-round pick (26th overall) in 2017, was fined recently by the team after questioning why he wasn’t traded on social media.

Less than a hour after the Falcons were asked about McKinley’s status to return from a groin injury, the former UCLA product was cut.

He made 79 total tackles (53 solo), 23 tackles for loss, 17.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and 45 quarterback hits over four seasons with the Falcons. McKinley had eight total tackles (five solo), a sack and seven quarterback hits in four games this season.

Four picks after the Falcons drafted McKinley in 2017, the Steelers used the 30th overall pick on T.J. Watt, who has started 55 consecutive games and has 41.5 sacks. He’s been named a Pro Bowler twice and once as an All-Pro.

After the trade deadline passed Nov. 3, McKinley took to Twitter to voice his displeasure about still being a member of the team.

McKinley missed playing time recently with a groin injury. Before the trading deadline, he announced on Twitter he would be not be traded as no team made an substantial offer.

The Falcons received some interest, but passed on offers made before the 4 p.m. trade deadline that day.

On Wednesday of last week, McKinley confirmed he requested trades in the past two seasons. He said the team passed on offers for a second-round pick last year and fifth- and sixth-round picks this year — from multiple teams. The team refutes it received any such offers.

McKinley, apparently, has been unhappy for a while. He wasn’t pleased that the Falcons didn’t pick up his $10.3 million fifth-year option. The Falcons were hoping that McKinley would be motivated by not getting his option picked up. The move apparent went in a totally opposite direction.

Falcons' next four games

Bye week

Falcons at Saints at 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 22

Raiders at Falcons at 1 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 29

Saints at Falcons at 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6

Falcons at Los Angeles Chargers at 4:25 p.m., Dec. 13

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