Atlanta Falcons TE Austin Hooper
2016 3rd-round pick out of Stanford
Unrestricted free agent
6-foot-5 | 254 lbs. | 25 years old
Austin Hooper played quite well in 2019, catching 75 passes for 787 yards and six touchdowns in 13 games. He started the season on fire with two 100-yard games in the first six weeks and six catches or more in five of the first six games.
He did suffer a knee injury that forced him to miss some time, but Hooper finished the season strong with 14 catches in the final two weeks of 2019.
As a player, Hooper can block and certainly can catch. He ranks as the top tight end available on the free-agent market, and the position is a major need for the Redskins.
Durability does not seem like a major concern for the former Stanford Cardinal, as he’s only missed five games in four seasons in Atlanta. He steadily progressed too with the Falcons, as his catch total went from 19 as a rookie to 75 last season and Pro Bowl spots the last two years.
It will be interesting to watch how the tight end market unfolds. The highest-paid players at the position are all over 30, with Travis Kelce, Kyle Rudolph, Jimmy Graham and Jordan Reed the only tight ends set to make $9 million or more in 2020.
The Redskins have a decision to make with Reed, but it’s widely believed he will be released. An elite player when healthy but unfortunately Reed’s rarely healthy, dropping his contract would result in more than $8 million in cap savings.
Hooper could easily command an $8 million annual salary or more, and in some ways, the Redskins already have that in the budget. This is definitely one to watch but keep in mind Atlanta could decide to use the franchise or transition tag on Hooper, making the Redskins signing him that much harder.
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