Atlanta Falcons tight end Austin Hooper has said the team has not offered him a new contract and he is getting ready to play what could be his final game as an Atlanta Falcon this weekend at the Pro Bowl.
Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff didn’t seem too excited about the pass-catching tight ends in the 2020 NFL draft as he said “there are some good football players” but that they didn’t put up big numbers.
Dimitroff then went on to say that the team in “trudging along” in regards to Austin Hooper and that they will focus on him after they “return from the Super Bowl”.
No one thought that the Atlanta Falcons were going to re-sign Hooper immediately after the season, but the longer this plays the less likely we will see Austin Hooper in an Atlanta Falcons uniform. Hooper joined the Falcons flagship station on Wednesday and sounded very snarky when talking about his contract and the Falcons.
Listening to the radio show, I got the feeling that he may not want to come back.
The Falcons will more than likely have one shot at re-signing Hooper. Their initial contract offer has to be their best offer and while Hooper will not reset the tight end market, he and his agents over at Caric Sports Management will not take a below-market offer.
Last season we saw Grady take below his market value in order to stay with the Falcons. However, he was a hometown kid with roots and family in the metro area. Hooper has no ties to the South, let alone Atlanta.
Asking him to take a contract less than he is worth means he believes in the franchise and what they are attempting to build. It means he believes in coach Dan Quinn and loves his teammates enough to come back.
What Atlanta cannot afford to do is get into a bidding war and let him get to the open market. There will be plenty of suitors for Hooper’s services and some may be more enticing situations than a potentially sitting duck coach and front office.
If the Atlanta Falcons really want to see Austin Hooper in a Falcons uniform in 2020, they may only have one shot to do so. Let’s hope they don’t blow it.