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Patriots Sign Austin Hooper; Alex Van Pelt Reunion

The New England Patriots have agreed to a one-year contract with tight end Austin Hooper, who played under offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt from 2020-21 with the Cleveland Browns.

FOXBORO — The New England Patriots are adding to their “tight endage” arsenal for the upcoming season. 

New England, per an NFL Network report, is signing tight end Austin Hooper to a one-year contract. The deal reportedly has a base value of $3 million, with a maximum value of $4.25 million, per ESPN’s Mike Reiss

Hooper joined the NFL as a third round selection (No. 81 overall) by the Atlanta Falcons in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Austin Hooper

Ironically, he was the second tight end selected, behind then Arkansas Razorback Hunter Henry (No. 35, San Diego Chargers) — who now becomes his teammate in New England. 

During his four seasons with the Falcons, Hooper quickly rose to the top of their tight end depth chart. The Stanford product played in 59 games, starting 28. Hie finished his tenure with 214 catches for 2244 yards and 16 touchdowns. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2018 and 2019 — his final season in Atlanta in which he logged 75 receptions for 787 receiving yards and six receiving touchdowns.

Hooper parlayed his strong performance into signing a lucrative four-year contract with the Cleveland Browns in 2020. With the Browns, Hooper played under new Patriots offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt, who held the same position in Cleveland at the time. The San Mateo, California native finished the 2020 regular season with 46 catches for 435 yards and four touchdowns in his debut season for the Browns. In 2022, he took a bit of a statistical dip with 38 receptions for 345 receiving yards and three scores. Hooper was ultimately released as a cost-cutting measure by the Browns in March 2022.

For the next two seasons, Hooper played on one year contracts — first signing with the Tennessee Titans in 2022 and then the Las Vegas Raiders in 2023. Hooper played in 17 games for the Silver and Black last season, compiling 234 yards on 25 catches with zero touchdowns. 

With the Patriots having re-signed Henry prior to the start of free agency, Hooper should be expected to complete for the second tight end spot in 2024. In addition to Henry, he is joined on the roster by LaMichael Pettway. Shortly after news of Hooper joining the Pats, tight end Pharaoh Brown signed with the Seattle Seahawks while former Patriot Mike Gesicki has agreed to a contract with the Cincinnati Bengals.