Austin Hooper’s time in Atlanta was productive and now it’s officially (well unofficially official) over.
Monday marks the first day of legal tampering and it didn’t take long for the Browns to jump on the top tight end on the free agent market.
Multiple outlets are reporting that Hooper has a deal in place to join the Cleveland Browns signing the a contract that will make him the highest paid tight end in the sport.
NFL Network's Ian Rapaport reports the deal is for four years and $44 million, with $23 million of it being guaranteed in the first two seasons.
Hooper came to the Falcons as a third round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft from Stanford University. Hooper was the 81st overall pick that year.
Hooper entered free agency after his best season as a professional despite missing three games with a sprained MCL. Hooper caught 75 passes for 787 yards and six touchdowns in 2019 beating his previous career high in 2018 when he caught 71 passes for 660 yards and four touchdowns.
Hooper took to social media a few weeks prior to the opening of free agency to hint that the Falcons never offered him the opportunity to return to Atlanta. The post saw Hooper walking off the field in a Falcons’ jersey with his hands in a peace sign.
Fans poked and asked if Hooper thought he’d be back, a comment to which Hooper responded “They ain’t offer me lol.”
The Cleveland Browns did and now Hooper joins a stacked group of skill players with Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Nick Chubb and fellow tight end David Njoku.
The Falcons probably couldn’t have fit in Hooper’s asking price with their lack of salary cap and now will have to potentially look to the draft for Hooper’s replacement.