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The Falcoholic staff discusses Austin Hooper’s NFL future

We’ve got some takes.

Atlanta Falcons v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Austin Hooper’s going to be difficult for the Falcons to hold onto given the team’s cap situation and his standout 2019 season. But it’s also not ideal for the team to let a player who has improved every season and emerged as one of the league’s top tight ends walk.

On one hand, the team is pretty broke, with just about $4.9 million in space under the Top 51 rule. On the other hand, Hooper finished this past season ranked fifth in the league among all tight ends with 75 receptions, and his 787 receiving yards ranked him sixth in the NFL despite missing some time due to injury.

If the team were to let Hooper walk, which seems likely, it will leave a gaping hole in the offense, and it’s unlikely the team will be able to bring in a replacement who can even come close to matching Hooper’s productivity. If they keep him, it means releasing other players to free up enough money to make Hooper want to stay. So what should the Falcons do about Hooper? Our staff weighs in.