2020 NFL Free Agency: Early predictions for top 25 players

Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images /
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Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images
Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images /

19. TE Austin Hooper, Atlanta Falcons

2019 Salary: $2,218,357

Where he will sign: Atlanta Falcons

There will be plenty of interest in Austin Hooper this offseason. That is, assuming he actually hits the open market. You better believe the Falcons will do everything in their power to keep their playmaking tight end in Atlanta for the foreseeable future.

It’ll be a costly endeavor for the Falcons, who aren’t expected to have a ton of spending power when free agency rolls around. With that said, I can’t see a realistic situation in which they simply let him walk. Even if it takes some monetary maneuvering, GM Thomas Dimitroff will make room under the salary cap to re-sign Hooper.

Over the last three seasons, Hooper has been one of the most consistently productive tight ends in the league. Although not quite at the level of elite talents such as Zach Ertz or Travis Kelce, he’s a reliable option in the pass game who also shines as a blocker.

At his current pace, Hooper should put up career highs in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns in 2019. He’s become one of Matt Ryan’s most dependable weapons and should remain in Atlanta for years to come — as long as his asking price doesn’t force the Falcons to go in a different direction.