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Falcons to let Austin Hooper and De’Vondre Campbell test free agency

The Falcons turned around their season in the second half of the year and are rewarding their head coach and GM with another chance, but should they have?

The Falcons are near the bottom of the league in projected salary cap space, which limits the amount of things they can do before free agency starts.

Via the team’s official website, Falcons General Manager Thomas Dimitroff said the current plan is to let tight end Austin Hooper and linebacker De’Vondre Campbell test the free agency market.

Dimitroff didn’t rule out bringing them back, but usually once sought-after players hit the market, it’s much harder to reel them back in.

“This does not necessarily close the door on their time with the Falcons and we fully intend on negotiating with them in the free agency period as we work through our roster-building scenarios,” Dimitroff said. “Oftentimes you have to look at what the market is to determine whether you’re willing, as an organization, to step up and pay those players a certain amount of money.”

Dimitroff also said the team would like to bring back offensive lineman Wes Schweitzer, who started seven games for them last year.

But Hooper and Campbell could be big-ticket items for someone.

The 25-year-old Hooper caught 75 passes for 787 yards and six touchdowns last year, earning his second Pro Bowl berth. The 26-year-old Campbell is coming off a great season as well, with career-highs in tackles (129), tackles for loss (six), forced fumbles (three), and interceptions (two).

Because of previous aggressive spending, the Falcons are extremely limited this offseason, which could lead to some veterans being tossed overboard, including Devonta Freeman.