Cleveland Browns: Andrew Berry takes calculated risk on Takk McKinley
Takk McKinley’s signing represents calculated risk from Cleveland Browns
What were the Cleveland Browns thinking when they apparently paid real money to sign Takkarist “Takk” McKinley, who was unable to get healthy last season, appearing in only four games due to a groin injury that did not seem to heal?
First, let’s be clear that this is not the fault of the player for being injured. The Browns are fully aware of the situation, which was reviewed by the medical staffs of four organizations last season.
So if it does not work out, do not blame McKinley for giving it a go for the team, but if there is blame to be assessed, direct it at Andrew Berry, the astute general manager of the team.
McKinley was waived by the Atlanta Falcons last season after more than a year of demanding to be traded, but was unable to pass the physical for the Cincinnati Bengals, then was claimed by the 49ers and was waived again and wound up being claimed by the Raiders but did not play a down for them.
McKinley is a former first-round draft pick, and if he is healthy, he has awesome speed for a big man, at 6-2, 245 lbs, and 4.59 seconds in the 40. He is a proven sack artist, with three strong seasons for the Falcons, and 17.5 sacks in his career. He would pose major problems for teams that plan to double-team Myles Garrett. There’s no question that he is a premier NFL talent.
Initially, the opinion of this analyst was that signing McKinley was a terrible idea based on the difficulties of 2020, when he just could not find his way to the playing field. But after thinking about it for a while, it is not an outrageous gamble.
No one questions the talent. Nor has McKinley done anything really bad other than ask to be traded. Given the way things have gone for the Atlanta Falcons, that might even be completely understandable. That’s not a positive, but the Dawg Pound has no reason to take the side of Falcons management. You might not like working for the Falcons either. Let’s give the guy a bye for that one.
So far as we are aware, there have been no complaints about him as a teammate, no off the field concerns, nothing like that. The only issue is health.
If he were healthy, McKinley is a $15 million per year player. But is he healthy? How do we assess the risk? First of all, presumably he has to pass a physical before the deal is official.
This writer is not a doctor, but from a layman’s perspective, we know that groin injuries can be serious at times, and sometimes they require surgery (Joe Haden, for example). However, if he passes his physical and establishes that surgery is not required, have you ever heard of a career-ending groin injury?
Adam Schefter reports that the base deal is worth about $4.25 million, with additional incentives that could take the contract value to $6 million.
On that basis, it just seems like there should be a very good chance, probably over 50 percent, that the Browns training staff should be able to help McKinley rehab by September. If the Browns can invest $6 million and have a greater than 50 percent chance of having a $15 million dollar talent on the defensive line, it is a worthwhile investment despite the risk involved. This is a classic case of high-risk, high-reward.
In any case, we have to give the player the benefit of the doubt. If it does not work out, let’s not boo somebody’s groin muscle, okay? Similarly, we ought not boo Greedy Williams’ shoulder or Grant Delpit’s Achilles tendon. Those injuries are outside of the will of the player. The players are giving it their best shot to get back on the playing field.
If there is blame to be assessed, blame Andrew Berry. There is risk involved. However, based on what we know today, this was the right decision because of the high potential reward from having a true star talent to add to the defensive line.