Hooper caught three of four targets for 25 yards in Sunday's 34-20 win over Washington.
Hooper posted season highs in receptions and yards, but he has not played a large role as a receiver through three games despite playing 86 percent of the offensive snaps. The Browns deployed a similar play-calling mix as in last week's win over the Bengals when they ran 60 percent of the time. That's been a winning formula, but a Week 4 date with a Dallas squad that ranks seventh in points per game could lead to a more wide-open affair, and more opportunities for Hooper.
Hooper caught two of four targets for 22 yards in Thursday's 35-30 win over the Bengals in Week 2.
The Browns threw only 23 times, so targets were limited across the board, but Hooper had two more Thursday than he did in Week 1's loss to the Ravens. The Browns were able to run their offense, designed to lean heavily on the ground game and use tight ends. He was on the field nearly as much as quarterback Baker Mayfield, playing 57 of 58 snaps. Hooper hasn't found the end zone after two games but was targeted once in the red zone Thursday.
With David Njoku (knee) landing on injured reserve, Hooper could see a greater share of targets and snaps against the Bengals on Thursday.
Hooper was tops among Cleveland's tight ends with 56 plays (77 percent) but had just two targets in Sunday's loss to the Ravens. It was an unassuming debut for the tight end, who signed a four-year deal worth more than $10 million per during the offseason. More was expected from Hooper in Week 1, but the Browns' offense was in a deep hole early, which altered their game plan. If Cleveland can get into its offense, Hooper should make a more significant contribution.
Hooper caught two of two targets for 15 yards in Sunday's 38-6 loss to the Ravens in Week 1.
Hooper was the first player acquisition of new head coach Kevin Stefanski, a disciple of using multiple tight ends, which suggested a big role for him in the offense. But that did not materialize Sunday, which could be attributable to the Browns never getting a chance to work the offense as designed. They played mistake-filled football and fell behind by multiple scores in the second quarter. That led to quarterback Baker Mayfield forcing balls to Odell Beckham. In related news, fellow tight end David Njoku left the game with a knee injury, which could lead to more playing time for Hooper when the Browns face the Bengals in Week 2 on Thursday.
Hooper and quarterback Baker Mayfield connected in the red zone during a practice earlier this week, Nathan Zegura of the Browns' official site reports.
Hooper and fellow tight end Harrison Bryant have stood out thus far in training camp, which isn't surprising. Mayfield has a history of targeting tight ends going back to his college days, and it looks like he's found a safety valve in Hooper. The two established chemistry during the offseason, and that continues as they prepare for a Week 1 game against the Ravens. Hooper recorded 146 catches and 10 touchdowns over his final two seasons with the Falcons.
Browns offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt said Hooper and quarterback Baker Mayfield have established an on-field rapport during training camp, Dan Labbe of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.
Hooper, who was the first free agent the Browns added during the offseason, spent some time with Mayfield before training camp in an effort to build chemistry. "The more they play together, obviously, the stronger that bond becomes," Van Pelt said. "It is those unwritten, the body language things that you can't really coach and teach, and when two guys get on that same page, and it is tough to stop." Hooper tops the tight end depth chart, and the position group as a whole should see an increase in targets in 2020.
Hooper is poised to sign a four-year, $42 million deal with the Browns, Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com reports.
Breer notes that the tight end is in line to earn $23 million over the first two years of the deal, all of which is slated to be guaranteed. With Hooper set to join the mix, David Njoku's volume figures to take a hit. Hooper is coming off a 2019 campaign in which he set career highs in catches (75), yards (787) and TDs (six), while playing 13 games. The money Cleveland plans to give him is a clear indication that he'll be a focal part of the team's passing attack in 2020.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports Hooper has agreed to contract terms with the Browns, while the tight end told Adam Schefter of ESPN that he's "definitely leaning Cleveland."
The first report presents Hooper to Cleveland as a sure thing, while Schefter's report suggests there's still a small degree of uncertainty. With Green Bay and Washington also rumored to have interest in Hooper, the Browns came out firing with a big offer at the very beginning of the "legal tampering" period that opened at 12 p.m. ET on Monday. This is a pretty strong signal that the new leadership in Cleveland doesn't hold David Njoku in high regard, though Browns general manager Andrew Berry suggested in February that he'd likely pick up the tight end's fifth-year option for 2021.
Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said Hooper will be allowed to test the open market, Jason Butt of The Athletic reports.
Dimitroff didn't explicitly rule out the possibility of re-signing the tight end, but it seems like a long shot if the team isn't even willing to use a franchise tag for approximately $10.7 million. Hooper should be able to reach that number for his average annual value on a long-term contract, coming off a breakout 2019 campaign with 787 yards in 13 games. The Falcons have a tough cap situation, but there are plenty of other teams with ample space and a need for a pass-catching TE.
General manager Thomas Dimitroff said Wednesday there are "no updates" on Hooper's contract discussions with the Falcons, Kelsey Conway of Atlanta's official site reports.
Dimitroff's statement is actually an update of sorts, and he also used the term "trudging along" when reporters asked him about the tight end. Hooper enjoyed a breakout season in the final year of his rookie contract, potentially positioning himself as the top tight end available in free agency. However, the franchise tag is arguably a bargain from the Falcons' perspective, as the number -- expected to be around $10.7 million -- comes from a formula based on the five largest salary cap hits for the position group in each of the past five years. It just so happens that most of the league's premium tight ends in recent seasons -- including Rob Gronkowski, Zach Ertz and Travis Kelce -- signed team-friendly extensions that sacrificed upside for security. That reality gives the Falcons some leverage in negotiations, but their dicey cap situation hands the leverage right back to Hooper. Ultimately, the Falcons will have a tough time making other moves unless they allow Hooper to leave or sign him to a long-term deal with a lower cap hit for 2020. As such, the franchise tag likely would be viewed as a bridge for a multi-year contract.
Hooper, who can become a free agent in March, said Monday that the Falcons have yet to engage him in talks about an extension, D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. "I'm not going to speak on that too much," Hooper said, when asked about his contract situation. "It's a business. I'm open to coming back here. I don't know. ... I haven't received an offer yet. I'm going to let my representation and the representation for the Falcons handle that."
Despite missing three games due to a sprained MCL in his knee, Hooper turned in the best season of his four-year career in 2019, posting 75 receptions for 787 yards and six touchdowns. Atlanta was able to clear up some cap space over the weekend by restructuring the 2020 contracts of Matt Ryan and Grady Jarrett, so look for the team to apply some of those savings toward a new deal for Hooper.
Hooper caught seven of nine targets for 45 receiving yards during Sunday's 28-22 overtime win against Tampa Bay.
Though his yardage output was well below his pre-existing season average of 61.8 receiving yards per game, Hooper collected seven catches for a second consecutive outing during Sunday's finale. The 25-year-old tight end found himself in firm competition for a second consecutive Pro Bowl bid through 10 weeks of the 2019 campaign, but a knee issue subsequently sidelined him for three games, and his production during his first two games back from the injury amounted to just five catches for 52 yards. Hooper rebounded over the final two weeks of the year, however, providing him with additional leverage as he transitions into his first opportunity at free agency during the 2020 offseason.
Hooper snagged seven of nine targets for 82 receiving yards during Sunday's 24-12 win against the Jaguars.
Prior to an encouraging Week 16 showing against Jacksonville, Hooper had managed just five catches for 52 yards in his first two games back from a sprained MCL suffered Nov. 10 at New Orleans. Hooper broke out of his brief slump Sunday, garnering his highest number of targets since Week 5 and translating those opportunities into his third-greatest yardage output of 2019. Taking on a Buccaneers defense Week 17 that ranks bottom 10 in receptions (75), receiving yards (899) and touchdowns (seven) allowed to opposing tight ends, Hooper is a high-upside fantasy play for the Falcons' regular-season finale.
Hooper caught three of six targets for 20 receiving yards during Sunday's 29-22 win against San Francisco.
The 2018 Pro Bowl tight end found himself on pace for 100 receptions, 1,080 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns through the first 10 weeks of the season, but since suffering a sprained MCL against New Orleans on Nov. 10 he has compiled just five catches for 52 yards in appearances over the past two weeks. Though he is an electrifying receiving threat when healthy and did almost reel in a fourth-quarter touchdown grab, Hooper's limited production in his first two games back from injury devalue his outlook. Hooper will have a prime opportunity to rebound against Jacksonville in Week 16 as the Jaguars' defense has surrendered the third-most TE touchdowns thus far in 2019.
Hooper caught two of six targets for 32 receiving yards during Sunday's 40-20 win against Carolina.
It's not that Hooper wasn't involved Sunday, as his six targets ranked second on the team behind Julio Jones' eight. His 18-yard catch midway through the second quarter spurred a six-play touchdown drive for Atlanta, but otherwise he hauled in only one of five targets on the afternoon. Though Hooper's Week 14 output was disappointing for those who plugged him into lineups coming off his three-game absence from a sprained MCL, it's encouraging at least that he remained a high-volume target upon his return to the lineup. The Week 15 matchup does not provide optimism for a bounceback performance, however, with San Francisco ranking No. 1 in the NFL with just 389 receiving yards allowed to opposing tight ends this season.
Hooper (knee) doesn't have an injury designation for Sunday's matchup with the Panthers, D. Orlando Ledbetter of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
The tight end will return from a three-game absence, hoping to pick up where he left off in the midst of a breakout season. Hooper's presence pushes Jaeden Graham back to a reserve role, while Calvin Ridley and Russell Gage face more competition for targets (Julio Jones has also been cleared to return from an injury).
Coach Dan Quinn said Hooper (knee) will return to action Sunday against the Panthers, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com reports.
Hooper missed the past three games while recovering from an MCL sprain. He resumed practicing at the beginning of this week, so it's possible he's ready to take back a full workload. It isn't clear if the Falcons will list the tight end with a designation on their final Week 14 injury report.
Hooper (knee) was a limited participant in Thursday's practice.
The Falcons have listed Hooper as limited on both of their first two injury reports of Week 14, though because the team has a longer turnaround between games after last playing Thanksgiving Day, the tight end has actually practiced on three occasions, per Jason Butt of The Athletic. The trio of workouts gives Hooper a good shot at suiting up Sunday against the Panthers, though he would ideally turn in a full practice Friday in order for his fantasy managers to feel comfortable about his ability to handle a normal workload this weekend. Hooper has been sidelined for the Falcons' past three games due to an MCL sprain in his left knee.
Hooper (knee) was limited at practice Wednesday, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com reports.
Hooper displayed progress last week by running on the side, but the tight end took the next step in his recovery from an MCL sprain in his left knee with some on-field reps. He'll aim to up his activity as the week goes on as he seeks his first game action since Nov. 10. Fellow tight ends Jaeden Graham (thigh) and Luke Stocker (back) were also limited Wednesday, so Carson Meier is the sole healthy member of the positional group at the moment.
Hooper (knee) took part in practice Wednesday, Jason Butt of The Athletic reports.
After running on a side field last week, Hooper is back at practice this week. While his activity level won't be known until the Falcons post their first Week 14 injury report later Wednesday, he's seemingly putting himself on a path to play for the first time since Week 10, when he initially suffered a sprained MCL.
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