|ADP:||Round: 6, Pick: 9|
|Ht / Wt:||6'4" / 254 lb.|
|Born:||October 29, 1994|
|Drafted:||2016 / Rd. 3 (81)|
Hooper is poised to sign a four-year, $42 million deal with the Browns, Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com reports.
Analysis: Breer notes that the tight end is line to earn $23 million over the first two years of the deal, all of which is slated to be guaranteed. With Hooper set to join the mix, David Njoku's volume figures to take a hit. Hooper is coming off a 2019 campaign in which he set career highs in the catch (75), yards (787) and TD (six) categories, while playing 13 games. The money Cleveland plans to give him is a clear indication that he'll be a focal part of the team's passing attack in 2020.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports Hooper has agreed to contract terms with the Browns, while the tight end told Adam Schefter of ESPN that he's "definitely leaning Cleveland."
Analysis: The first report presents Hooper to Cleveland as a sure thing, while Schefter's report suggests there's still a small degree of uncertainty. With Green Bay and Washington also rumored to have interest in Hooper, the Browns came out firing with a big offer at the very beginning of the "legal tampering" period that opened at 12 p.m. ET on Monday. This is a pretty strong signal that the new leadership in Cleveland doesn't hold David Njoku in high regard, though general manager Andrew Berry suggested in February that he'd likely pick up the tight end's fifth-year option for 2021.
Flacons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said Hooper will be allowed to test the open market, Jason Butt of The Athletic reports.
Analysis: Dimitroff didn't explicitly rule out the possibility of re-signing the tight end, but it seems like a long shot if the team isn't even willing to use a franchise tag for approximately $10.7 million. Hooper should be able to reach that number for his average annual value on a long-term contract, coming off a breakout 2019 campaign with 787 yards in 13 games. The Falcons have a tough cap situation, but there are plenty of other teams with ample space and a need for a pass-catching TE.
General manager Thomas Dimitroff said there are "no updates" on Hooper's contract discussions with the Falcons, Kelsey Conway of the team's official website reports.
Analysis: Dimitroff's "no update" statement is actually an update of sorts, and he also used the term "trudging along" when reporters asked him about the tight end. Hooper enjoyed a breakout season in the final year of his rookie contract, potentially positioning himself as the top TE available in free agency. However, the franchise tag is arguably a bargain from the Falcons' perspective, as the number -- expected to be around $10.7 million -- comes from a formula based on the five largest salary cap hits for TEs in each of the past five years. It just so happens that most of the league's premium tight ends in recent seasons -- including Rob Gronkowski, Zach Ertz and Travis Kelce -- signed team-friendly extensions that sacrificed upside for security. That reality gives the Falcons some leverage in negotiations, but their dicey cap situation arguably hands the leverage right back to Hooper. Ultimately, the Falcons will have a tough time making other moves unless they allow Hooper to leave or sign him to a long-term deal with a lower cap hit for 2020. As such, the franchise tag likely would be viewed as a bridge for a multi-year contract.
Hooper, who come become a free agent in March, said Monday that the Falcons have yet to engage him in talks about an extension, D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. "I'm not going to speak on that too much," Hooper said, when asked about his contract situation. "It's a business. I'm open to coming back here. I don't know...I haven't received an offer yet. I'm going to let my representation and the representation for the Falcons handle that."
Analysis: Despite missing three games due to a sprained MCL in his knee, Hooper turned in the best season of his four-year career in 2019, posting 75 receptions for 787 yards and six touchdowns. Atlanta was able to clear up some cap space over the weekend by restructuring the 2020 contracts of Matt Ryan and Grady Jarrett, so look for the team to apply some of those savings toward a new deal for Hooper.
Hooper caught seven of nine targets for 45 receiving yards during Sunday's 28-22 overtime win against Tampa Bay.
Analysis: Though his yardage output was well below his pre-existing season average of 61.8 receiving yards per game, Hooper collected seven catches for a second consecutive outing during Sunday's finale. The 25-year-old tight end found himself in firm competition for a second consecutive Pro Bowl bid through 10 weeks of the 2019 campaign, but a knee issue subsequently sidelined him for three games, and his production during his first two games back from the injury amounted to just five catches for 52 yards. Hooper rebounded over the final two weeks of the year, however, providing him with additional leverage as he transitions into his first opportunity at free agency during the 2020 offseason.
Hooper snagged seven of nine targets for 82 receiving yards during Sunday's 24-12 win against the Jaguars.
Analysis: Prior to an encouraging Week 16 showing against Jacksonville, Hooper had managed just five catches for 52 yards in his first two games back from a sprained MCL suffered Nov. 10 at New Orleans. Hooper broke out of his brief slump Sunday, garnering his highest number of targets since Week 5 and translating those opportunities into his third-greatest yardage output of 2019. Taking on a Buccaneers defense in Week 17 that ranks bottom 10 in receptions (75), receiving yards (899) and touchdowns (seven) allowed to opposing tight ends, Hooper is a high-upside fantasy play for the Falcons' regular-season finale.
Hooper caught three of six targets for 20 receiving yards during Sunday's 29-22 win against San Francisco
Analysis: The 2018 Pro Bowl tight end found himself on pace for 100 receptions, 1,080 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns through the first 10 weeks of the season, but since suffering a sprained MCL against New Orleans on Nov. 10 he has compiled just five catches for 52 yards in appearances over the past two weeks. Though he is electrifying a receiving threat as practically any NFL tight end when healthy, Hooper's limited production in his first two games back from injury devalue his outlook. If there is an opponent who presents an opportunity for Hooper to rebound, it may just be Atlanta's Week 16 opponent Jacksonville, as the Jaguars' defense has surrendered the third-most TE touchdowns thus far in 2019.
Hooper caught two of six targets for 32 receiving yards during Sunday's 40-20 win against Carolina.
Analysis: It's not that Hooper wasn't involved Sunday, as his six targets ranked second on the team behind only julio Jones' eight. His 18-yard catch midway through the second quarter spurred a six-play touchdown drive for Atlanta, but otherwise he only hauled in one of five targets on the afternoon. Though Hooper's Week 14 output was disappointing for those who plugged him into lineups coming off his three-game absence from a sprained MCL, it's encouraging at least that he remained a high-volume target upon his return to the lineup. The Week 15 matchup does not provide optimism for a bounce back performance, however, with San Francisco ranking No. 1 in the NFL with just 389 receiving yards allowed to opposing tight ends this season.
Hooper (knee) doesn't have an injury designation for Sunday's matchup with the Panthers, D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Analysis: The tight end will return from a three-game absence, hoping to pick up where he left off in the midst of a breakout season. Hooper's presence pushes Jaeden Graham back to a reserve role, while Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage face more competition for targets (Julio Jones has also been cleared to return from an injury).
Coach Dan Quinn said Hooper (knee) will return for Sunday's game against the Panthers, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com reports.
Analysis: Hooper missed the past three games while recovering from an MCL sprain. He resumed practicing at the beginning of this week, so it's possible he's ready to take back his full workload. It isn't clear if the Falcons will list the tight end on their final Week 14 injury report.
Hooper (knee) was a limited participant in Thursday's practice.
Analysis: The Falcons have listed Hooper as limited on both of their first two injury reports of Week 14, though because the team has a longer turnaround between games after last playing Thanksgiving Day, the tight end has actually practiced on three occasions, per Jason Butt of The Athletic. The trio of workouts gives Hooper a good shot at suiting up Sunday against the Panthers, though he would ideally turn in a full practice Friday in order for his fantasy managers to feel comfortable about his ability to handle a normal workload this weekend. Hooper has been sidelined for the Falcons' past three games due to an MCL sprain in his left knee.
Hooper (knee) was limited at practice Wednesday, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com reports.
Analysis: Hooper displayed progress last week by running on the side, but the tight end took the next step in his recovery from an MCL sprain in his left knee with some on-field reps. He'll aim to up the ante as the week goes on as he seeks his first game action since Week 10. Fellow tight ends Jaeden Graham (thigh) and Luke Stocker (back) also were limited Wednesday, so Carson Meier is the sole healthy member of the positional group at the moment.
Hooper (knee) took part in practice Wednesday, Jason Butt of The Athletic reports.
Analysis: After running on a side field last week, Hooper is back at practice this week. While his activity level won't be known until the Falcons post their first Week 14 injury report later Wednesday, he's seemingly putting himself on a path to play for the first time since Week 10, when he initially suffered a sprained MCL.
Hooper (knee) is expected to resume practicing Monday, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com reports.
Analysis: Hooper was inactive for the past three games while recovering from an MCL sprain, missing each practice during that time. He did some running on a side field last week, and a return to practice Monday should give him a shot to make it back for Sunday's game against Carolina. Jaeden Graham has filled in capably as the Falcons' top pass-catching tight end, hauling in seven of eight targets for 117 yards and a touchdown over the past three weeks.
Hooper (knee) is ruled out for Thursday's contest against the Saints, D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Analysis: Hooper will sit out a third straight game as he tends to a sprained MCL. The 25-year-old was initially handed a recovery timetable of one month after suffering a sprained MCL on Nov. 10, and he hasn't yet retaken the practice field. With Luke Stocker (back) listed as questionable, the Falcons could be forced to operate with only Jaeden Graham at tight end during Thursday's divisional contest.
Hooper (knee) didn't practice Tuesday, D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Analysis: Instead of taking the practice field, Hooper worked with the training staff on the side, per Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com. With Hooper tending to a sprained MCL and Luke Stocker logging DNPs this week due to a back injury, Jaeden Graham is the only healthy tight end on the Falcons' 53-man roster at the moment.
Hooper (knee) worked on a side field with the Falcons' training staff during Tuesday's practice, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com reports.
Analysis: Listed as a non-participant on Monday's estimated injury report, Hooper seems poised to log a DNP for a second straight day. Until his sprained MCL wanes enough for him to get on the practice field, he'll yield reps to Jaeden Graham, who is the sole healthy TE on the roster with Luke Stocker (back) also in recovery mode.
Hooper (knee) is listed as a non-participant on Monday's practice estimate, D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
Analysis: Hooper hasn't practiced since sustaining an MCL sprain in Week 10. It's unlikely he's able to make enough progress to suit up Thursday against the Saints. If that's the case, Jaeden Graham -- who logged a 66-percent snap share Week 12 -- could be in line for an even larger workload if Luke Stocker (back) can't shake his injury in time.
Hooper (knee) has been ruled out for Sunday's game against Tampa Bay, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com reports.
Analysis: An early report suggested Hooper would be out for about a month with an MCL sprain, and his absence now has been confirmed for a second straight week, with the tight end still unable to practice. Jaeden Graham and Luke Stocker figure to share Week 12 snaps, while Hooper's usual target workload could be directed toward the team's wide receivers.
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