The Las Vegas Raiders just announced a contract with free agent TE OJ Howard, and are now bringing in free agent TE Austin Hooper for a visit on Wednesday. After sending Darren Waller to the New York Giants in a blockbuster trade, the Raiders are doing their due diligence in rebuilding their TE room, reports NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.
Austin Hooper will be entering his eighth season in the NFL after spending last year in Nashville playing with the Tennessee Titans. Before Tennessee, he spent two seasons with the Cleveland Browns from 2020-2021, and played four seasons with the Atlanta Falcons prior to that.
If he ends up in Las Vegas, Austin Hooper will look to reclaim a form he hasn't shown since his last two seasons in Atlanta. Hooper posted back-to-back career seasons as a Falcon in 2018 and 2019. He had over 70 receptions and 4+ touchdowns each of those last two years.
The Raiders are looking to rejuvenate a TE room that was unexpectedly dismantled. Darren Waller is one of the top athletes at the position in the entire NFL, but reported strife between him and Head Coach Josh McDaniels seemed to lead to his departure. Darren Waller's newly-wed Kelsey Plum implied the deal occurred because McDaniels was not invited to the wedding.
Hooper would be joining a Las Vegas Raiders team that is undergoing a complete overhaul in general. Along with Waller, QB Derek Carr will be playing in New Orleans next season after spending his entire career so far as a Raider. As of right now, Hooper would be catching passes from QB Jimmy Garoppolo. Of course, there is a high possibility the Raiders will be selecting a quarterback in the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft.
It remains to be seen if Austin Hooper will join OJ Howard as the tight end representation in Las Vegas.