Atlanta Falcons sitting DE Takk McKinley Thursday

The Atlanta Falcons are holding pass-rusher Takk McKinley out of Thursday night's game against the Carolina Panthers, fueling talk of a potential trade.

The Falcons are sitting McKinley so a lingering groin injury can heal. But multiple league sources say the Falcons are open to trade options with the fourth-year player, so listing him as inactive can serve Atlanta on both fronts if necessary.

McKinley, a first-round pick in 2017, has missed two games with the groin issue and played 23 snaps in last week's loss to the Detroit Lions. The team did not pick up his fifth-year option, so McKinley is set to hit free agency in March. He has one sack this season and 17.5 for his career.

Sitting at 1-6 and searching for a new head coach and general manager, the Falcons are positioned to be sellers at the Tuesday trade deadline. Quarterback Matt Ryan and receiver Julio Jones, with a combined cap hit of nearly $64 million next season, are set to stay put, but the franchise could be looking to deal parts of its supporting cast.

The team fired coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff after an 0-5 start. Raheem Morris is the interim coach.