Atlanta Falcons Tight End Austin Hooper is set to become a free agent this off-season and could be a prime target for the Dallas Cowboys.
Hooper is 25 years old and coming off of a career year in 2019 despite missing three games due to injury. He played 13 games and finished with 75 receptions, 787 yards, and six touchdowns.
He had seven games with 50+ yards receiving and two games with 100+ yards. This was third on the team behind talented wide receivers Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley.
Looking at the season he just had it is easy to believe that the Falcons would re-sign him, but taking a deeper look at their cap situation shows how that is not exactly the case.
The Atlanta Falcons have just over $5M in 2020 team cap space with 23 total players set to become free agents.
Of the free agents, they have to make decisions on, the top names include De’Vondre Campbell, Vic Beasley, and of course Austin Hooper.
Those top three names are down to two now as the official Falcons twitter announced last Monday that they will not pursue contract negotiations with Vic Beasley.
BREAKING NEWS: We will not pursue negotiations with Vic Beasley this offseason. https://t.co/AWbxv1SiGi
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) February 3, 2020
This obviously allows the team to focus more on Hooper’s deal and potentially offering him more money.
The team also restructured the contracts of QB Matt Ryan and DT Grady Jarrett in December to create upwards of $12M in 2020 cap space, per Field Yates of ESPN.
The Falcons restructured the contracts of QB Matt Ryan and DT Grady Jarrett, converting 2020 base salary and bonuses into bonuses paid out yesterday.
The moves allow those bonuses to prorate and created north of $12M in 2020 cap space. Planning ahead by Atlanta.
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) December 28, 2019
With those moves, it would not come as a surprise if they used that new space to give the fourth-year Tight End a long-term contract. However, with their cap space being as low as it is they may opt to let him walk and save for the future from there.
The projected contract that Austin Hooper could get is somewhere over $10M per year, which may be a little too steep for the Cowboys considering the names on the roster that they still need to bring back.
It would be a major get for the Cowboys if they were to make a run at him in free agency. With Jason Witten regressed and Blake Jarwin still developing at the same age as Hooper, solidifying the TE position with a player who has been productive and still has so much room to grow even more than he has this past season seems like a very beneficial move for Dallas.