Austin Hooper Might Be Worth a Big Pay Day
Green Bay Packers are interested in Austin Hooper. It is one of the big headlines to start the week. Packers went after a tight end a few years ago by inking Jimmy Graham to a three-year 30 million dollar deal. Could they go back to the well with tight ends? And it makes you nervous when Hooper could ‘reset the tight end market’ before George Kittle gets paid. Is he worth that price? What surprised me is I looked at his stats and thought Hooper might be worth it. And more so, it is wrong for us to compare him to Graham or the previous misfires with tight ends.
Sometimes with offensive football players, we get blinded by fantasy football and daily fantasy. Hooper doesn’t have outstanding fantasy numbers. But every year, Hooper has gotten better as a tight end. More receptions, more yards, more touchdowns, and more targets. He only dropped TWO passes in 93 targets in 2019. With how the Green Bay Packers struggled with catching the ball last season, that’s excellent. Add to the fact that Hooper is only 25 years young. There is no reason why he isn’t going to paid by someone. And it could be the Green Bay Packers. Is it worth to pay a tight end after some missteps in that position?
Absolutely. Tight ends take a long time to develop in football. While I’m excited about Jace Sternberger’s potential, there is no guarantee that he will be an All-Pro next year or even in 2021. Having a guy like Hooper with Sternberger, they could be an unstoppable tight end duo that the Packers haven’t had since the mid-’90s. To compare this to Graham would be reckless. Graham had injury issues and was much older than Hooper. Add to the fact that Mike McCarthy is allergic to tight ends like he’s allergic to salads, it was a bad signing. Matt LaFleur’s offense is not tight end averse. And that’s why Gutekunst might think it’s worth investing an established tight end versus drafting another one.
The Falcons tight end might be too expensive when it’s all said and done. Let another team overpay for him, but if the Packers give him a reasonable contract, trust me when I say they’re buying on his potential. He has the skill and the size to be a great tight end. Even if you might have hated him on your fantasy team in the last couple of years.