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Blank on Hooper, others

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Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank on Wednesday sang the praises of two-time Pro Bowl tight end Austin Hooper, an unrestricted free agent the team would like to re-sign but has not made a full commitment to just yet.

Speaking from the Super Bowl in Miami, Blank addressed whether the team planned to make Hooper a "Falcon for life," as has become Blank's catchphrase before signing top players to lucrative deals.

 
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"I think he's a young, ascending player, and he has performed at a very high level for us," Blank told ESPN. "I think he's worthy, certainly, of a new contract based on market. Whether that fits in with us and our salary cap remains to be seen.

"I will tell you with all our free agents, [general manager] Thomas Dimitroff and the personnel staff have spoken to agents and understand the direction of where things are going. We've made it clear that we're making more final decisions after the Super Bowl."

i?img=%2Fphoto%2F2020%2F0130%2Fr659142_1296x729_16%2D9.jpg&w=570&format=jpg Austin Hooper set career highs in receptions, targets, yards and touchdowns in 2019 despite missing three games. Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

Hooper is arguably the most important pending free agent in the Falcons' bunch, although there is interest in the status of pass-rusher Vic Beasley Jr. and linebacker De'Vondre Campbell. The Falcons already informed kicker Younghoe Koo of intentions to tender him as an exclusive-rights free agent at $660,000.

Hooper is certain to draw interest if he reaches free agency on March 18, based on his ability and age. The floor for Hooper is likely to start at $10 million per year and $22 million guaranteed, based on the current market for tight ends. The Falcons have yet to extend an offer. Dimitroff mentioned the franchise tag as a possibility, but using that to keep Hooper under contract in 2020 seems highly unlikely.

Hooper, 25, finished this past season with a career-high 75 catches for 787 yards and six touchdowns despite missing three games with an MCL sprain.

"Well, I think he's a great receiving tight end," Blank said of Hooper. "He plays hard. He plays well. He plays under pressure well. He doesn't normally get injured, although this year we lost him for three games. He's been a consistent performer for us since we drafted him [third round, 2016]. Smart player, which is what you expect coming out of Stanford."

 

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When informed of Blank's comments, Hooper expressed his gratitude.

"It's an honor for the owner to show praise," Hooper said. "Hopefully, I can remain a Falcon. When my representation hears from the organization, we can begin this process. I remain very optimistic things will work out. Rise up!"

The scenario involving Beasley is intriguing, as well, because he was coach Dan Quinn's first draft pick at eighth overall in 2015. However, Beasley has not performed at a consistent level since leading the league with 15.5 sacks in 2016, when the Falcons made a Super Bowl run. Beasley recorded eight sacks this past season, including 6.5 in the final eight games. His status could depend on how newly named defensive coordinator Raheem Morris envisions Beasley's potential role.

"Well, Vic played at a different level in the back half of the year than the first half of the year," Blank said of Beasley. "What changed for him, I'm not exactly sure. And whether or not we can have that kind of consistency with him when it matters, only time will tell. But that will be a decision that will be made by the coaches and by personnel. He certainly played better in the back half of the year."

Both Dimitroff and team president Rich McKay, who will oversee Dimitroff and Quinn, insisted they are not overly concerned with the salary-cap situation for 2020 despite cap commitments approaching $200 million.

When asked if McKay's new role might influence the decision on a particular player, Blank responded, "If you're asking me who is going to have the final say, hopefully the three don't get to that position where final say is important. What you really want to have is a more comprehensive vetting of the critical decisions, whether it be in free agency or the draft."

 
 
 
 

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Not reading in to it too much, but I don't think Hoop is in red and black next year. That bit about final say is really interesting. McKay sounds more involved in this process than previously expected. We might see less "sacred cows" this year.

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10 minutes ago, vel said:

They paid Vic $13MM no problem. If they can't find a structure to pay Hooper $10MM, they should be fired. They paid Sambrailo $7MM per year, but can't find $3MM extra to pay a 2x Pro Bowl TE. Think about that. 

I hated both those moves. The past doesn't and shouldn't dictate the future. There's enough talent on offense with or without Hooper. They need to stop making choices based off the past (ex: recapturing the 2016 magic instead of innovating) and just do what's best for the team. Paying Hooper because we paid two schmucks the previous year and he's actually good doesn't make sense. Imho, the best move is beefing up the defense and not needing massive contracts on the offensive side of the ball and 1st round picks everywhere to succeed.

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16 minutes ago, vel said:

They paid Vic $13MM no problem. If they can't find a structure to pay Hooper $10MM, they should be fired. They paid Sambrailo $7MM per year, but can't find $3MM extra to pay a 2x Pro Bowl TE. Think about that. 

I agree, but the market price of DE and OT  are significantly higher, which influences what they paid those two, as well as what a free agent to replace them will cost. That said the Ty deal was just stupid. I understand the Vic option a bit more. Maybe they didn’t think at the time there was a DE option in FA that could provide better play at a similar price/commitment. How much edge guys get paid in FA is exactly why I think vic is gone too. The Smith boys got paid like 16-17M a year, and while they have played well, that was big money based on their prior production IMO.

I take it that they like Hooper but maybe they have a certain value on the position, and his contract could exceed that.

also don’t think Blank gave much of an endorsement for Vic, but stated that his future is someone else’s call (passing the buck). He hit the nail on the head though stating his inconsistency and wondering if he can be consistent moving forward. IMO 5 years is a large enough sample size and there isn’t a reason to ponder it anymore.

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Vic's inconsistency maybe the only reason that we have a chance to keep him.

His value is pretty low for such a gifted athletic Edge.

If I had to choose who to give the 10 million to, it would be Vic before Hooper.

 

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4 minutes ago, 1989Fan said:

I agree, but the market price of DE and OT  are significantly higher, which influences what they paid those two, as well as what a free agent to replace them will cost. That said the Ty deal was just stupid. I understand the Vic option a bit more. Maybe they didn’t think at the time there was a DE option in FA that could provide better play at a similar price/commitment.

I take it that they like Hooper but maybe they have a certain value on the position, and his contract could exceed that.

also don’t think Blank gave much of an endorsement for Vic, but stated that his future is someone else’s call (passing the buck). He hit the nail on the head though stating his inconsistency and wondering if he can be consistent moving forward. IMO 5 years is a large enough sample size and there isn’t a reason to ponder it anymore.

If they pay Vic and Ty instead of Hooper this year, that's an indictment, sure. Paying Hooper is something I'd disagree with overall, but I wouldn't hate it - the dude is a good player. But moving on from all of them and investing heavily in the defense would be a step in the right direction imho.

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13 minutes ago, duckhoa said:

Vic's inconsistency maybe the only reason that we have a chance to keep him.

His value is pretty low for such a gifted athletic Edge.

If I had to choose who to give the 10 million to, it would be Vic before Hooper.

 

I still think Vic gets $13-17 per in the open market. LaDarius Smith got 4 years 66, (16.5 per) and his best season in BAL was 8.5 sacks, and he totaled 18.5 in four seasons.  And I say this knowing there is more to it than just sacks, but they get paid 


add in that coaches are narcissistic and will say “I can get those 15+ sacks from Vic” and some GM is gonna over pay.

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15 minutes ago, Francis York Morgan said:

I hated both those moves. The past doesn't and shouldn't dictate the future. There's enough talent on offense with or without Hooper. They need to stop making choices based off the past (ex: recapturing the 2016 magic instead of innovating) and just do what's best for the team. Paying Hooper because we paid two schmucks the previous year and he's actually good doesn't make sense. Imho, the best move is beefing up the defense and not needing massive contracts on the offensive side of the ball and 1st round picks everywhere to succeed.

The problem becomes locker room messaging. You let a multi Pro Bowl player walk but paid a ton of money for bums, one being $13MM after several underwhelming seasons and spending the offseason playing basketball while Hooper has spent every offseason working with his QB? I'd see that loud and clear if I'm in the locker room as for what's acceptable. 

Signing Hooper is not a move based on the past. It's rewarding hard work and consistent growth. The same as signing Grady and Debo. They signed Freeman to $9MM per. Again, Hooper is a younger, at a position that ages more gracefully. Yes, the defense needs talent, but that's not Hooper's fault. 

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15 minutes ago, 1989Fan said:

I agree, but the market price of DE and OT  are significantly higher, which influences what they paid those two, as well as what a free agent to replace them will cost. That said the Ty deal was just stupid. I understand the Vic option a bit more. Maybe they didn’t think at the time there was a DE option in FA that could provide better play at a similar price/commitment. How much edge guys get paid in FA is exactly why I think vic is gone too. The Smith boys got paid like 16-17M a year, and while they have played well, that was big money based on their prior production IMO.

I take it that they like Hooper but maybe they have a certain value on the position, and his contract could exceed that.

also don’t think Blank gave much of an endorsement for Vic, but stated that his future is someone else’s call (passing the buck). He hit the nail on the head though stating his inconsistency and wondering if he can be consistent moving forward. IMO 5 years is a large enough sample size and there isn’t a reason to ponder it anymore.

I get that. But neither guy warranted market value deals. Shaq Barrett was $4MM and a player I actually spoke up for them going after. Bruce Irvin showed first hand he could replace Vic here no problem and they let him walk for free. There was CLEAR options other than paying Vic $13MM but their ego's got in the way and they're paying for it now. Idiots. I just don't get how they thought paying $13MM for him made any season. If you even just looked at your own roster, Vic's cap hit was higher than everyone except Matt Ryan. Do you think he's the second best player on the team? In any regard? No. So if you agree with that, you had to agree you could get somebody else for $13MM or less. 

13 minutes ago, duckhoa said:

Vic's inconsistency maybe the only reason that we have a chance to keep him.

His value is pretty low for such a gifted athletic Edge.

If I had to choose who to give the 10 million to, it would be Vic before Hooper.

Why would you pay Vic $10MM? 

He hasn't been to a Pro Bowl since his fluke season. He just had over 10 QB hits for the second time in his career. He hasn't developed one bit since his rookie year. He can't play the run. What's he even good at that you would pay him $10MM and struggle to replace? 

Hooper was pacing a top three finish at TE the whole year before he got hurt. Just wrapped up his second Pro Bowl. He's 25 and improved every single year. Is well rounded and can do whatever you ask a TE to do. Had one of the best catch rates at the position this season. 

Vic is not gifted. He was a flash in the pan. He's Jason Babin at his best and worst. 

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35 minutes ago, vel said:

They paid Vic $13MM no problem. If they can't find a structure to pay Hooper $10MM, they should be fired. They paid Sambrailo $7MM per year, but can't find $3MM extra to pay a 2x Pro Bowl TE. Think about that. 

Ty didn't even average 5 per year and they gave them an out as of THIS year to save 1/3 of that contract.

I agree we should try to find a way to keep Hooper, but the we revert back to the old statement most have been saying over the years that we overpay every position on offense and ignore the defense.  I would hate for us to lose Hooper and that position becomes lacking as in years past, but we DID draft him right after Gonzo retired, and we did develop him, so whose to say we can't do it again and draft another or maybe Graham takes over to go along with a veteran signing.

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21 minutes ago, duckhoa said:

Vic's inconsistency maybe the only reason that we have a chance to keep him.

His value is pretty low for such a gifted athletic Edge.

If I had to choose who to give the 10 million to, it would be Vic before Hooper.

 

Lets just hope we don't have to give double digits to either. lol

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11 minutes ago, vel said:

The problem becomes locker room messaging. You let a multi Pro Bowl player walk but paid a ton of money for bums, one being $13MM after several underwhelming seasons and spending the offseason playing basketball while Hooper has spent every offseason working with his QB? I'd see that loud and clear if I'm in the locker room as for what's acceptable. 

Signing Hooper is not a move based on the past. It's rewarding hard work and consistent growth. The same as signing Grady and Debo. They signed Freeman to $9MM per. Again, Hooper is a younger, at a position that ages more gracefully. Yes, the defense needs talent, but that's not Hooper's fault. 

That's a fair point about the locker room, but it's also a business. You can make a similar point by cutting and not re-signing underperforming players. It's not like they're suddenly going to think we don't pay guys when we've got, what, 6 or 7 guys with top 5 salaries at their position? The Vic **** was bad for morale, but they don't have to sign everyone who performs because of it. That's reductionist as helI.

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It’s a pretty easy decision the Campbell Beasley Hooper discussion. I have a look whose out there in the draft especially and whose the easiest to replace.

Once this chat has been had sayonara to the unlucky recipients.

I see several draft picks that will fall into our range early that fit Beasley & Campbell’s role perfectly there the first 2 I’d let walk.

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14 minutes ago, vel said:

I get that. But neither guy warranted market value deals. Shaq Barrett was $4MM and a player I actually spoke up for them going after. Bruce Irvin showed first hand he could replace Vic here no problem and they let him walk for free. There was CLEAR options other than paying Vic $13MM but their ego's got in the way and they're paying for it now. Idiots. I just don't get how they thought paying $13MM for him made any season. If you even just looked at your own roster, Vic's cap hit was higher than everyone except Matt Ryan. Do you think he's the second best player on the team? In any regard? No. So if you agree with that, you had to agree you could get somebody else for $13MM or less. 

Why would you pay Vic $10MM? 

He hasn't been to a Pro Bowl since his fluke season. He just had over 10 QB hits for the second time in his career. He hasn't developed one bit since his rookie year. He can't play the run. What's he even good at that you would pay him $10MM and struggle to replace? 

Hooper was pacing a top three finish at TE the whole year before he got hurt. Just wrapped up his second Pro Bowl. He's 25 and improved every single year. Is well rounded and can do whatever you ask a TE to do. Had one of the best catch rates at the position this season. 

Vic is not gifted. He was a flash in the pan. He's Jason Babin at his best and worst. 

Worse case scenario, IMO, we let them both walk and we get 3rd/4th round comp picks in 2021 for them hopefully

Edited by federicofalcon2
word spelled wrong

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6 minutes ago, Francis York Morgan said:

That's a fair point about the locker room, but it's also a business. You can make a similar point by cutting and not re-signing underperforming players. It's not like they're suddenly going to think we don't pay guys when we've got, what, 6 or 7 guys with top 5 salaries at their position? The Vic **** was bad for morale, but they don't have to sign everyone who performs because of it. That's reductionist as helI.

I'm not saying pay everyone. Letting Teco walk was the right move. Trading Sanu was the right move. Cutting the guys that need to be cut would be the right move. But they are likely to let a 2x Pro Bowler walk and keep Vic and Campbell, two mediocre players because it's "cheaper". That's how we ended up with Carpenter and Brown instead of Saffold. 

2 minutes ago, duckhoa said:

Good grief Vel......you have some strong opinions on Vic.....

I will bow out now.....

They're strong because he's an awful football player that somehow still gets defended and every excuse made for him. He's a bum. If 2016 never happened, people wouldn't be lining up to pay for him. But somehow one year is who he is, not the other four. Lol smh

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I think the Falcon for life thing gets blown way outta proportion.  
 

Julio needs to be a Falcon for life

Matt needs to be a Falcon for life

 

who else has he even said that for?

 

Hooper does not need to be a Falcon for life.  What we could recoup without him is greater than was we can get with him. 

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I’m gonna be honest and y’all can be mad but the 30 for 30 confirmed that blank is the problem with this franchise. I was like 13 or 14 when Reeves was fired so I didn’t quite understand all of the politics that went in to sports but watching how blank handled the broken leg pretty much sums up how he operates. Watching the way they completely mishandled Vick sums it up for me. He was more worried ab selling tickets w Vick than winning because if they truly wanted to WIN we would’ve seen Philadelphia Mike Vick in Atlanta. Blank lovers can say what they want but the best thing Arthur blank could do for this team would be sell it to someone who can run it properly

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Lastly I’ll say this. If we truly have the HOF qb we think we do he doesn’t need Hooper. Also, if it’s scheme and not talent then Jaeden Graham should be able to produce in this scheme. It’s BEYOND silly to pay Hooper top dollar when we have 1/2 a d-line

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15 minutes ago, MoFalconsFan56 said:

Lastly I’ll say this. If we truly have the HOF qb we think we do he doesn’t need Hooper. Also, if it’s scheme and not talent then Jaeden Graham should be able to produce in this scheme. It’s BEYOND silly to pay Hooper top dollar when we have 1/2 a d-line

Why pay anybody? What's the point of developing talent for everybody to be replaced. Should have let Grady and Debo walk. They've been apart of these trash defenses. They weren't worth keeping. 

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I like Hoop and I think he has a bright future, but if his price is $10M/year, I think we need to let him go and use the cap space (if we even have any) to go towards a solution at LG or for a DL That can actually help us.

Heck, Greg Olsen will be available and might be a two year solution

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