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Austin Hooper, Falcons


Austin Hooper: Ranking the three best landing spots in NFL free agency

Atlanta Falcons tight end Austin Hooper will be the best one available on the free-agent market this offseason, meaning he is sure to have his fair share of suitors.

Hooper is one heck of a commodity, as he is just 25 years old (he doesn’t turn 26 until next November) and is coming off of a 2019 campaign in which he hauled in 75 receptions for 787 yards and six touchdowns en route to his second straight Pro Bowl appearance.

So, what are the best landing spots for Hooper?

Here are three teams on which Hooper would fit best.

3. Washington Redskins

Jordan Reed’s career may be over, which means it may finally be time for the Redskins to move on and look for another player to man the position.

Hooper would be a great fit.

Washington is a rebuilding team, so Hooper fits its timeline, and he would also provide Dwayne Haskins with a security blanket in short-yardage situations, and just in general.

The Redskins are in desperate need of threats in the aerial attack, as outside of Terry McLaurin, Washington’s cupboard is pretty bare, particularly in terms of potential elite talent.

Hooper would certainly fill a gaping hole.

2. Chicago Bears

The Bears thought they were getting their tight end of the future when they signed Trey Burton in March 2018, and you know what? Early on, the signing looked like a success.

In his first season in Chicago, Burton caught 54 passes for 569 yards and six scores and was a very consistent threat for Mitchell Trubisky, and considering he was just 27 years old at the time, his future in the Windy City looked bright.

But then, Burton dealt with a sports hernia last offseason, and in the eight games he played in 2019, he logged a meager 14 catches for 84 yards and no touchdowns.

Burton may very well end up getting cut by the Bears, so yeah; Chicago needs a new tight end, especially with Trubisky struggling to find his footing.

Enter Hooper, whose presence would actually give the Bears’ passing attack some nice weapons in himself, Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller and Taylor Gabriel.

1. New England Patriots

The Patriots found out very quickly in 2019 that even an aging, declining Rob Gronkowski was better than anything else they could muster.

Whether it was Ben Watson or Matt LaCosse, New England was barely able to squeeze any production out of the tight end position this past season, as Watson and LaCosse combined for just 30 catches and one touchdown.

The Pats’ lack of a tight end was very evident in the second half of the season and the playoffs, as they labored to generate any kind of juice from their aerial attack.

Hooper would instantly change that.

No, he isn’t prime Gronkowski, but he is actually better than the beaten-up Gronkowski who played a major role in the Patriots winning the Super Bowl last year.

Tom Brady lacked any go-to target outside of Julian Edelman in 2019, and assuming Brady returns for 2020, he is going to need another pass-catcher to depend upon.

Austin Hooper can be that guy.