The Las Vegas Raiders‘ pass rush needs help but it might take some time for help to come. The team recently acquired former Atlanta Falcons first-round pick Takk McKinley from the waiver wire after he failed physicals with the San Francisco 49ers and Cincinnati Bengals. It appears that the Raiders also aren’t comfortable with McKinley’s health right now and have sent him to the injured reserve.
Las Vegas could’ve just sent him back to waivers but it’s clear they like his upside. With six games left, it’s still very possible that McKinley could get on the field this season. That said, he’ll at least be out for three weeks. The fact the Raiders decided they’re still going to keep him around and pay him despite his injury means that they’re probably expecting him to be back this season.
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Jon Gruden Has Plans for McKinley
McKinley had an ugly end to his time in Atlanta but he is a guy who can make an impact. He had 13 sacks in his first two seasons so he can be a decent pass rusher. Head coach Jon Gruden recently made it seem like the team is expecting McKinley to have a role soon.
“Takk McKinley will not be on the trip this week, but he is a big part of our plans for the future,” Gruden said Friday. “I just don’t know how far in the immediate future that is.”
With McKinley’s contract set to expire after this season, it’s unclear what exactly Gruden has planned for the defensive end. His value is probably going to be very low unless he blows up once he returns from the injured reserve. Perhaps the Raiders were so keen on picking him up because they think he’s a guy who could stick around for a while. The team has invested a lot into their defensive ends and it hasn’t paid off quite yet. Maybe McKinley could be the low-risk, high-reward player the Raiders have been trying to find.
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