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Austin Hooper

Austin Hooper

Tight End #81
ADP:Round: 12, Pick: 5
Team: Cleveland Browns
Ht / Wt:6'4" / 254 lb.
College:Stanford
Age:26
Born:October 29, 1994
Drafted:2016 / Rd. 3 (81)
Draft Team:ATL

Austin Hooper: Absent for another practice

Hooper (appendix) wasn't spotted on the field during Thursday's practice, aMary Kay Cabot of The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Analysis: According to Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal, Hooper wasn't even seen working on the side with the Browns' other injured players, suggesting the team isn't counting on him playing Sunday against the Raiders. After Hooper underwent an appendectomy Oct. 23, Harrison Bryant and David Njoku took on expanded roles at tight end in last weekend's win over the Bengals. Expect both to remain involved in the passing game versus Las Vegas if Hooper is inactive for the second straight week.

October 29, 2020 11:38 AM EST

Austin Hooper: Unlikely to play Sunday

Hooper (appendix) isn't expected to play Sunday against the Raiders, Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reports.

Analysis: Hooper underwent an emergency appendectomy last Friday and missed Sunday's game against the Bengals as a result. The Browns are expected to let Hooper rest again Week 8, providing the tight end two more weeks to get back to full strength because of the team's Week 9 bye. Harrison Bryant seemed to operate as the top tight end in Hooper's absence, recording a 4-56-2 line against Cincinnati, while David Njoku played fewer snaps and produced a 2-20-1 line.

October 28, 2020 3:05 PM EST

Austin Hooper: Status for Week 8 uncertain

Coach Kevin Stefanski said Monday he doesn't know whether Hooper (appendix) will be available for Sunday's game against the Raiders, Scott Petrak of the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram reports.

Analysis: Hooper sat out Cleveland's divisional win over the Bengals in Week 6 while recovering from an appendectomy, and it looks possible that he could be out until the team's bye in Week 9. Harrison Bryant (5-56-2) and David Njoku (2-20-1) both performed well with Hooper out, which could provide the Browns reason to be confident in letting the top tight end sit and get healthy.

October 26, 2020 9:09 AM EST

Austin Hooper: May be out through bye

Hooper (appendix) may be held out until after Cleveland's bye week in Week 9, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Analysis: Hooper underwent an appendectomy Friday and will miss Sunday's game against the Bengals. The tight end will likely miss next week's contest against the Raiders before the Browns' bye week Nov. 8. That will give Hooper three full weeks to recuperate.

October 25, 2020 5:33 AM EST

Austin Hooper: Ruled out for Week 7

Hooper is slated to undergo appendix surgery Friday and won't play Sunday against the Bengals, Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal reports.

Analysis: With Hooper set to miss at least one game, the Browns will turn to Harrison Bryant and David Njoku to handle the team's pass-catching duties at tight end Sunday against Cincinnati and possibly in Week 8 against the Raiders.

October 23, 2020 9:52 AM EST

Austin Hooper: Not spotted at practice Friday

Hooper (undisclosed) was not spotted during the media-access portion of Friday's practice, Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal reports.

Analysis: It remains to be seen if the Week 7 status of Hooper, who has logged 22 catches for 205 yards and a TD in six games to date, is in any danger, but if he's limited or out Sunday against the Bengals, Harrison Bryant, David Njoku and Stephen Carlson would be next up for the team's tight end looks.

October 23, 2020 9:29 AM EST

Austin Hooper: Team leading target

Hooper caught of five of his team-high six targets for 52 yards in Sunday's 38-7 loss to the Steelers.

Analysis: Hooper topped the target chart for a second consecutive week and has 15 catches over the last three weeks. The Browns are utilizing the tight end more after a slow start. Over the last three weeks, Hooper is averaging five catches on 7.7 targets for 47.7 yards.

October 19, 2020 4:27 AM EST

Austin Hooper: Team high in targets

Hooper caught five of 10 targets for 57 yards in Sunday's 32-23 win over Indianapolis.

Analysis: Hooper led the Browns in targets -- he has 17 targets the last two weeks -- and had a season-high in yards. Cleveland's usual script of a run-heavy offense was upended by the Colts' defense, which forced more production from the passing game. Hooper played 79 percent of the snaps, slightly down from recent weeks, with the return of David Njoku giving the offense a full complement of tight ends.

October 12, 2020 3:39 AM EST

Austin Hooper: Finds paydirt

Hooper caught five of seven targets for 34 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's 49-38 win over the Cowboys.

Analysis: Hooper had his best day in a Browns' uniform, recording season highs in targets and catches while scoring his first touchdown. The Stanford graduate has been on the field more than any Cleveland receiver, so the opportunities are there for him. He has two red-zone targets this season, tying him for the team lead with Kareem Hunt and Odell Beckham. Week 5 takes the Browns back home for a date with the Colts, who have allowed just 11 catches (22 targets) over four games to opponents' tight ends.

October 5, 2020 5:28 AM EST

Austin Hooper: Small fantasy role Week 3

Hooper caught three of four targets for 25 yards in Sunday's 34-20 win over Washington in Week 3.

Analysis: Hooper posted season highs in receptions and yards, but he has not played a large fantasy role through three games despite playing 86 percent of the offensive snaps. The Browns ran a similar offense as in last week's win over the Bengals when they ran 60 percent of the time. That's been a winning formula, but a Week 4 date with Dallas, who rank seventh in points per game, could lead to a more wide open affair.

September 28, 2020 3:58 AM EST

Austin Hooper: Plays near full game

Hooper caught two of four targets for 22 yards in Thursday's 35-30 win over the Bengals.

Analysis: The Browns threw only 23 times, so targets were limited across the board, but Hooper had two more Thursday than he did in Week 1's loss to the Ravens. The Browns were able to run their offense, designed to lean heavily on the ground game and use tight ends. He was on the field nearly as much as quarterback Baker Mayfield, playing 57 of 58 snaps. Hooper hasn't found the end zone after two games, but was targeted once in the red zone Thursday.

September 18, 2020 6:35 PM EST

Austin Hooper: Competition thinning

With David Njoku (knee) landing on injured reserve, Hooper could see a greater share of targets and snaps Week 2 against the Bengals on Thursday.

Analysis: Hooper was tops among Cleveland's tight ends with 56 plays (77 percent) but had just two targets in Sunday's loss to the Ravens. It was an unassuming debut for the tight end, who signed a four-year deal worth more than $10 million per during the offseason. More was expected from Hooper in Week 1, but the Browns' offense was in a deep hole early, which altered their game plan. If Cleveland can get into its offense, Hooper should make a more significant contribution.

September 14, 2020 6:27 PM EST

Austin Hooper: Quiet debut

Hooper caught two of two targets for 15 yards in Sunday's 38-6 loss to the Ravens in Week 1.

Analysis: Hooper was the first player acquisition of new head coach Kevin Stefanski, a disciple of using multiple tight ends, which suggested a big role in the offense. But that did not materialize Sunday, which could be attributable to the Browns never getting a chance to work the offense as designed. They played mistake-filled football and fell behind by multiple scores in the second quarter. That led to quarterback Baker Mayfield forcing balls to Odell Beckham. In related news, fellow tight end David Njoku left the game with a knee injury, which could lead to more playing time for Hooper when the Browns face the Bengals in Week 2 on Thursday.

September 13, 2020 6:05 PM EST

Austin Hooper: Red zone target in camp

Hooper and quarterback Baker Mayfield connected in the red zone during a practice earlier this week, Nathan Zegura of the Browns' official site reports.

Analysis: Hooper and fellow tight end Harrison Bryant have stood out thus far in training camp, which is not surprising. Mayfield has a history of using tight ends, going back to his college days. Hooper and Mayfield established chemistry during the offseason, and that continues as the prepare for Week 1 against the Ravens. Hooper has 146 catches and 10 touchdowns over the last two seasons.

September 2, 2020 10:58 AM EST

Austin Hooper: Forming bond with Mayfield

Browns offensive coordinator said Hooper and quarterback Baker Mayfield have established an on-field rapport during training camp, Dan Labbe of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Analysis: Hooper, who was the first free agent the Browns added during the offseason, spent some time with Mayfield before training camp in an effort to build chemistry. "The more they play together, obviously, the stronger that bond becomes," Van Pelt said. "It is those unwritten, the body language things that you can't really coach and teach, and when two guys get on that same page, and it is tough to stop." Hooper tops the tight end depth chart, and the position group as a whole should see an increase in targets in 2020.

August 25, 2020 4:07 PM EST

Austin Hooper: Four-year, $42 million deal reported

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.

March 16, 2020 1:46 PM EST

Austin Hooper: Likely signing with Browns

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.

March 16, 2020 9:47 AM EST

Austin Hooper: Headed for free agency

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.

February 25, 2020 8:07 AM EST

Austin Hooper: Not making much contract progress

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.

January 22, 2020 1:39 PM EST

Austin Hooper: Waiting on extension offer

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.

December 30, 2019 10:20 AM EST

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