Falcons letting Austin Hooper walk makes more sense than you think
Is Atlanta Falcons tight end Austin Hooper with his market price of $10 million a year? The answer depends on who you ask.
There is no denying that Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan loves a tight end; this seems to be a safety blanket for him in the passing game. There is also no denying that Matt Ryan has put a lot of time into developing Austin Hooper into the tight end that he is.
However, when taking a broad simplistic look at Matt Ryan’s production over his 12 years in the NFL, with or without a productive tight end, Matt Ryan has been just as great and productive. A big-name tight end seems to be a fan need not something Matt Ryan necessarily needs to have to be successful.
When looking at the needs of this franchise, spending $10 million on a tight end seems foolish. In limited action, Jaeden Graham averaged more than 16 yards a catch for the Falcons in 2019 and showed better athleticism than Hooper has and at a fraction of the cost.
During the games that Hooper missed in 2019, Graham was targeted eight times which resulted in seven catches for 117 yards and one touchdown. Not bad for a guy that started the year as the third-string tight end who say just 35 snaps in the first nine games of 2019 before playing 34 in Week 11 alone.
The overall point is, many are upset at the thought of letting Hooper walk when the new league year starts in March. However, the more we think about this and take a holistic approach to the team needs, signing Hooper for that much money makes no sense and would further set this franchise back.
Of course, there will be people who disagree, but if you take a few minutes to look at the entire picture, it makes more sense to let Hooper walk than to spend even more money on an offense while neglecting the defense.