AP source: Browns to sign DE McKinley to help Garrett

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CLEVELAND — Looking to bolster their pass rush and complement All-Pro Myles Garrett, the Cleveland Browns plan to sign free agent defensive end Takkarist McKinley, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

McKinley, who was a first-round pick by Atlanta in 2017, will sign a one-year, $4 million contract, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because teams can't announce new deals until Wednesday, when the new NFL year begins.

The Browns were expected to be aggressive in adding a top-flight pass rusher, but most of the prominent ones agreed to deals elsewhere on Monday when free agency began.

The 25-year-old McKinley may not be a household name, and he's had some issues. But he may be able to help the Browns free up Garrett from double teams and gives them depth up front after choosing not to re-sign free agent end Olivier Vernon and releasing Adrian Clayborn.

McKinley had 13 combined sacks over his first two seasons, but only 4 1/2 over the next two. The Falcons didn’t pick up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract, and cut him after four games last season while he dealt with a groin injury.

He was claimed by Cincinnati and San Francisco but failed physicals. He was claimed by Las Vegas but went on injured reserve.

McKinley's signing is the second in free agency for the Browns, who agreed to terms on Monday with former Rams safety John Johnson III on a three-year, $33.75 million contract.


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Tom Withers, The Associated Press