The Atlanta Falcons are on the verge of making a monumental mistake but one we should not be shocked to see.
While we have projected since the last offseason that Beasley and Campbell would not be coming back, letting Hooper walk in free agency would be one of the worst mistakes the Atlanta Falcons could make for a couple reasons.
The first reason is they will have wasted the last four years of work that Matt Ryan has put into making Austin Hooper who he is as a player. You are kidding yourself if you think that Ryan didn’t play a huge part in Hooper’s development.
Too many people throw Matt aside as some Julio Jones byproduct, but the fact is Matt Ryan has elevated the play of every single offensive player the Falcons have had since his arrival. There are too many former Falcons that move on and never achieve their level of success around the league that they had with Matt Ryan.
Yes, Austin Hooper has put in the work but Matt Ryan has made sure that he has put in the right work. Their chemistry is undeniable and to take that weapon away from this offense with a lot riding on 2020 truly signifies that Arthur Blank is not serious about winning.
The other reason this is a huge mistake is what it says around the league and to the future players, the Atlanta Falcons could attract.
To draft, develop and then allow a player to walk sends a bad message around the league that a franchise does not care about its players; I have heard this from players for years.
Yes, this is a business and many players make lots of money, however, they are still people and there is still the innate need to be appreciated. With the Patriots as the exception, free agents prefer to go to franchises where culture has dictated the players are appreciated. When a franchise allows a player of Hooper’s caliber to walk because of money, it does not resonate well with agents or players.
There are several moves the Atlanta Falcons can make and need to make in order to bring Hooper back. Failing to do so sends the message that Blank and Thomas Dimitroff are not serious about winning and they should expect Mercedes Benz Stadium to be even emptier in 2020.