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Lowndesfalc

ESPN’s McClure says Falcons let Beasly, Hooper, Campbell walk

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https://es.pn/2sZdDYI

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6:00 AM ET
  • mcclure_vaughn.png&w=160&h=160&scale=cro
    Vaughn McClureESPN Staff Writer

    FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- In a perfect world, the Atlanta Falcons would bring back tight end Austin Hooper next season as a pass-catching threat alongside wide receivers Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley.

    The salary cap makes matters imperfect -- the Falcons currently have about $200 million in contract commitments for 2020 -- which is why Hooper’s future with the franchise is unclear.

     

    Best of NFL Nation

     

     

    Both general manager Thomas Dimitroff and team president Rich McKay said they are not concerned about the team’s salary-cap situation heading into 2020. And there’s been some restructuring already with the contracts of quarterback Matt Ryan and defensive tackle Grady Jarrett to create a little more cap space. But that doesn’t mean the Falcons are prepared to offer Hooper a lucrative deal that resets the tight-end market, like what his camp is expecting. And the team is hesitant to go the franchise-tag route knowing it would mean a cap hit of about $10.7 million in 2020.

    Just imagine the financial demands Hooper could have made had a sprained MCL not thrown off his torrid pace. Through the first eight weeks of the season, he ranked fifth in the NFL among all receivers with 52 receptions. He finished the season with a career-best 75 catches for 787 yards and six touchdowns despite missing three games.

     

    "Austin has improved every single season, earned the first of many Pro Bowls [2018], and is coming off a career season at just 25 years old," said Steve Caric, Hooper’s agent who has yet to discuss an offer with the Falcons. “He’s a top-5 tight end in the NFL right now and his best football is in front of him. I expect an aggressive market for him."

    We’ll see how everything plays out for Hooper, who told the Atlanta media he would be open to returning to the Falcons depending on whether an offer is made. The chemistry Hooper has established with Ryan through their offseason workouts in California can't be overlooked. Whatever the case, Hooper is arguably the most intriguing of the Falcons’ pending free agents.

    Here's how things could play out:

     

    Austin Hooper, tight end

    Notable numbers: 75 receptions, 787 yards, six touchdowns, 96 targets, one drop, 313 yards after the catch, 41 first downs in 2019.

    2019 earnings: $2.025 million

    Quoting Hooper: “I’m not going to speak on [the contract situation] too much. It’s a business. Obviously I would like to be here. I’m open to coming back here. But I know that I haven’t received an offer yet. If I do, I’d definitely like to be here."

    Projecting the outcome: The Falcons, with so much money tied up in top players such as Ryan, Julio Jones, Jarrett, and Deion Jones, will pass on signing Hooper to a lucrative extension and let him sign elsewhere. And Hooper will exceed $10 million per year with his new team. Meanwhile, the Falcons will see what they have in Jaeden Graham, who filled in nicely when Hooper was hurt this past season and is due to make $585,000 in 2020. The Falcons also will look hard at the draft class to find a potential pass-catching threat.

    Vic Beasley Jr., edge rusher

    Notable numbers: Beasley, who led the league with 15.5 sacks in 16 games through the 2016 season, recorded just 18 sacks in 46 games from 2017 to '19. He enjoyed a surge in the second half of 2019, with 6.5 sacks and two forced fumbles through eight games.

    2019 earnings: $12.81 million (fifth-year option)

    Quoting Beasley: “I’m excited. I’m at peace. I’m just going to continue to work. We’ll see [about re-signing with Falcons] when the time comes. Right now, I’m going to enjoy this offseason and just take it a day at a time."

    Projecting the outcome: The Falcons, who dangled Beasley before this past season’s trade deadline with no takers, will let him walk and start over elsewhere as they focus their attention on shoring up the pass rush via free agency and the draft. It might be a little hard to swallow for head coach Dan Quinn, considering Beasley was his first draft pick. Some in the front office actually had sights set on running back Todd Gurley in that draft, according to league sources. But Quinn will swallow the loss knowing Beasley just wasn’t consistent enough to warrant a lucrative extension or even another one-year "prove it" deal.

    De'Vondre Campbell, linebacker

    Notable numbers: Campbell led the Falcons in 2019 with 129 combined tackles, including 75 solos. He also led the team with three forced fumbles and had two sacks and six tackles for loss. Campbell also had two interceptions.

    2019 earnings: $2.025 million

    Quoting Campbell: “I would love to be here. I'm used to the city. I just don't want to have to pick up and go figure out a new city, a new coaching staff. But if that's what I have to do, that's what I have to do. I know they appreciate me, but business is business. And sometimes, no matter how much you appreciate somebody, it doesn't always work out like that."

     

    Projecting the outcome: Sure, the Falcons would like to have Campbell back, and assistant head coach/linebackers Jeff Ulbrich has a strong affection for a guy he personally scouted during the draft process. But the Falcons would have to re-sign Campbell to a bargain deal, and power agent Drew Rosenhaus is going to get the most for his client and sell teams on Campbell’s size and production. Campbell’s confidence is through the roof but the knock has been his lack of instincts.

    Younghoe Koo, kicker

    Notable numbers: In eight games with the Falcons in 2019, Koo made 23 of 26 field goals with a long of 50 yards and made 15 of 16 extra points. He also handled kickoffs and showed a great proficiency with the onside kick -- not to mention he recovered a fumble.

    2019 earnings: $570,000 base (prorated over eight games)

    Quoting Koo: “I’m grateful for the opportunity they have given me -- I think it was Week 8 -- and I just tried to capitalize on my opportunities whenever I got my name called. This is what you dream of. This is what I’ve dreamed about. Hopefully I can stay and just try to do my job as best as I can."

    Projecting the outcome: In the postseason news conference, Quinn said he would open up the kicking job to competition yet added how Koo made a strong case for himself. The Falcons won’t want to dig around for another leg knowing Koo is capable -- although they did not give his representatives any indication they'd re-sign him immediately. Having Koo return will be the best option for a team looking to rebound and make a playoff run in 2020.

 

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49 minutes ago, Lowndesfalc said:

Both general manager Thomas Dimitroff and team president Rich McKay said they are not concerned about the team’s salary-cap situation heading into 2020

That’s a big pile of horse hockey....not concerned my butt. Letting Hoop and Campbell and others walk because we don’t have the cap room - oh right no concern at all go ahead and wack MR and JJ while you’re at it. They need to stop lying - Sure they must let some guys walk but to flat out lie about it - not concerned they’re stupid

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8 minutes ago, atljbo said:

I'll say this then I'll leave it alone.. Ppl can't cry about us no having money to splash in FA but they also want everybody to resign.

 

 

If we let Campbell and Hooper walk, i honestly don't see how we'll improve from '19 to next season.

Our leading tackler the last 2 years, and top 5 TE in the league....hard to replace.

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26 minutes ago, HouseofEuphoria said:

If we let Campbell and Hooper walk, i honestly don't see how we'll improve from '19 to next season.

Our leading tackler the last 2 years, and top 5 TE in the league....hard to replace.

I like Campbell but I think he is replaceable.... It depends on the price tag.. I would look at a Jamie Collins

 

Again.. You are not letting them walk just to let them walk... You are letting them walk to improve the team.... 

If we say .. Hoop will cost us 11 mil a year... We want him back but we want to add some talent and vet leader ship to the D-Line like a Michael Bennett

 

My point is... You gotta make some tough decisions ... I'd what's next but I do think it's a possibility.

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41 minutes ago, HouseofEuphoria said:

If we let Campbell and Hooper walk, i honestly don't see how we'll improve from '19 to next season.

Our leading tackler the last 2 years, and top 5 TE in the league....hard to replace.

Campbell isn’t very good, leading tackler doesn’t mean much.  Hoop i would be upset about though.

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15 minutes ago, Rings said:

Campbell isn’t very good, leading tackler doesn’t mean much.  Hoop i would be upset about though.

I'm glad you said it... I won't say he isn't very good but he is replacable... 

 

What's insane is Iasiah Simmons is the PERFECT prospect for that .... Covering TEs/Blitzer role.

I think Campbell is a good athlete at LB who is a good Blitzer and tackler..... 

I don't think he played best as a cover LB

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1 hour ago, Rings said:

Campbell isn’t very good, leading tackler doesn’t mean much.  Hoop i would be upset about though.

 

53 minutes ago, shc said:

Wasn’t worrilow our leading tackler once?

Curtis Lofton anyone.

We actually got a good LBing coach in Jeff Ulbrich I’m surprised he hasn’t been offered DC interviews good coach.

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59 minutes ago, atljbo said:

I'm glad you said it... I won't say he isn't very good but he is replacable... 

 

What's insane is Iasiah Simmons is the PERFECT prospect for that .... Covering TEs/Blitzer role.

I think Campbell is a good athlete at LB who is a good Blitzer and tackler..... 

I don't think he played best as a cover LB

He’s not bad, but if he was drafted with a bunch of busts instead of that 2016 class and super bowl run he wouldn’t even be thought of being kept.  In that class was Keanu Neal, Deion Jones, Austin Hooper, Devondre Campbell, Wes Schweitzer and Devin Fuller.  At best he’s the fourth best person in that draft class, and Wes and him are debatable for that spot (which is telling).  He’s fine for a fourth round linebacker, but his best year was in 2017 and since then he had been average at best.  

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I think Hooper is wanting more than this team is willing to give him. I would be sad to see him go, but I don't see how we can afford to pay him big TE bucks for the next couple of years with the way we are paying Matt, Julio, Grady for the next couple of years. We even moved some of Matt's and Grady's salary into the future, so even if we're not in cap **** this year I think we might get there within a couple of years if we resign Hooper to what he wants.. I also think that Hoop is our best bet at getting a decent comp pick.

Campbell I think will also be asking for more than he is worth. I'd rather play Foye some more and draft/sign a replacement. Foye has earned a lot more playing time.

Beasley has to be gone, unless he takes a significant pay cut. Don't think he will be here. If we resign him and pay him a lot, I would say that this coaching staff and FO have not really learned any of the lessons they say they have.

Edited by niels petersen

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4 hours ago, atljbo said:

I'm glad you said it... I won't say he isn't very good but he is replacable... 

 

What's insane is Iasiah Simmons is the PERFECT prospect for that .... Covering TEs/Blitzer role.

I think Campbell is a good athlete at LB who is a good Blitzer and tackler..... 

I don't think he played best as a cover LB

We could also sign a veteran FA for WLB, or play plucking there. Simmons will probably be gone. Then we could kick the tires on a guy like K'Lavon Chaisson as the SLB chess piece that could blitz, defend the run, set the edge, and drop into coverage.  Unfortunately, Dylan Moses was also a great prospect for us, but he decided to return to school. I'm not buying the fact that he might change his mind on January 20th, after saying the day before he was returning to school. I think he still stays at bama, which is unfortunate for us. 

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