The Cleveland Browns and superstar tight end Austin Hooper have agreed to terms on a new contract. His new deal is for four years and is valued at $44 million. The fresh deal includes $23 million in total guaranteed money as well as a $10 million signing bonus. His average annual salary is now $10.5 million, and he is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in 2024. There is a potential opt out clause built in to the contract after the first three years of the agreement.

Contract Details

Austin Hooper signed a 4 year, $42,000,000 contract with the Cleveland Browns, including a $10,000,000 signing bonus, $23,000,000 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $10,500,000. In 2020, Hooper will earn a base salary of $1,500,000 and a signing bonus of $10,000,000, while carrying a cap hit of $4,000,000 and a dead cap value of $18,500,000.

CONTRACT TERMS: 4 yr(s) / $42,000,000 SIGNING BONUS $10,000,000 AVERAGE SALARY $10,500,000 GTD AT SIGN: $18,500,000 TOTAL GTD: $23,000,000 FREE AGENT:2024 / UFA
2020 25 $1,500,000 $2,500,000 $4,000,000 $18,500,000 $11,500,000($11,500,000)
2021 26 $4,500,000 $2,500,000 $2,333,333 $9,333,333 $14,500,000 $11,500,000($23,000,000)
2022 27 $9,500,000 $2,500,000 $2,333,333 $14,333,333 $9,666,666 $9,500,000($32,500,000)
POTENTIAL OUT: 2023, 3 YR, $32,500,000; $4,833,334 DEAD CAP
2023 28 $9,500,000 $2,500,000 $2,333,334 $14,333,334 $4,833,334 $9,500,000($42,000,000)
2024 29 UFA
Contract Notes:

·       $18.5M guaranteed at signing (signing bonus + 2020 salary + 2021 option bonus)

·       2021 Option Bonus: $7M

·       2021 salary fully guarantees on the 3rd league day of 2021 (injury guaranteed now)

 Previous Contract

 Austin Hooper’s previous contract was with the Atlanta Falcons where the young tight end spent his first four seasons with. His rookie deal was a four year $3,213,428 agreement. It included a $773,428 signing bonus as well as $773,428 in total guaranteed money. $803,357 was his average annual salary, and he was scheduled to become a free agent by 2020 which just occurred.

As he continued to make a name for himself his value continued to increase. During this offseason while he was a free agent, and he was highly sought after by multiple teams such as the Washington Redskins and the Cleveland Browns. Obviously, he was more enticed by the Cleveland Browns as they are expected to have a big year this upcoming 2020 – 2021 NFL season.

Austin Hooper’s Football Background

 The native of Northern California played his collegiate football at Stanford University. He was selected with the 81stoverall pick in the third round of the 2016 NFL draft by the Atlanta Falcons. Throughout his first four seasons in the National Football League the pass catching and play making tight end was named to 2 NFL Pro Bowls (2018, 2019). Hooper pulled in 214 receptions to go along with his 2,244 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns.

The Future of the Cleveland Browns

 Coming off a disappointing 2019 – 2020 NFL season the Cleveland Browns are now desperate to make a splash in the soon to be competitive AFC North. They just hired a new head coach by the name of Kevin Stefanski. Baker Mayfield is now under a lot of heavy pressure to have a much more productive season this year. With the skilled and talented core of offensive weapons like Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Kareem Hunt, and Nick Chubb; Austin Hooper is another highly potent play maker that should help the Cleveland Browns win a bunch of games during the 2020 – 2021 NFL season as well as hopefully propel them into the postseason this year.

If Cleveland does not make the playoffs following this upcoming regular season then the Browns will have to seriously reevaluate their organization, and make some hard decisions in order to turn their struggling franchise around. Much like Mitchell Trubisky the quarterback of the Chicago Bears, Baker Mayfield is on the hot seat to perform well at the moment, and he seems like the kind of guy that is up for the challenge. It’s a good thing they acquired Hooper to provide Mayfield with another reliable target who should pay dividends for Cleveland this year. It will be interesting to see how this season unfolds for the Browns.

 Austin Hooper’s NFL Career Statistics

 Receiving and Rushing

Games Receiving Rushing Total Yds
Year Age Tm Pos No. G GS Tgt Rec Yds Y/R TD 1D Lng R/G Y/G Ctch% Y/Tgt Rush Yds TD 1D Lng Y/A Y/G A/G Touch Y/Tch YScm RRTD Fmb AV
2016 22 ATL TE 81 14 3 27 19 271 14.3 3 16 44 1.4 19.4 70.4% 10.0 19 14.3 271 3 0 3
2017 23 ATL TE 81 16 8 65 49 526 10.7 3 18 88 3.1 32.9 75.4% 8.1 49 10.7 526 3 0 5
2018* 24 ATL TE 81 16 7 88 71 660 9.3 4 30 36 4.4 41.3 80.7% 7.5 71 9.3 660 4 0 6
2019* 25 ATL TE 81 13 10 97 75 787 10.5 6 41 35 5.8 60.5 77.3% 8.1 75 10.5 787 6 0 6
Career 59 28 277 214 2244 10.5 16 105 88 3.6 38.0 77.3% 8.1 214 10.5 2244 16 0 20

Advanced Receiving and Rushing

Games Receiving Rushing
Year Age Tm Pos No. G GS Tgt Rec Yds 1D YBC YBC/R YAC YAC/R BrkTkl Rec/Br Drop Drop% Rush Yds 1D YBC YBC/Att YAC YAC/Att BrkTkl Att/Br
2018* 24 ATL TE 81 16 7 88 71 660 30 423 6.0 237 3.3 4 17.8 4 4.5 0 0 0 0 0 0
2019* 25 ATL TE 81 13 10 97 75 787 41 452 6.0 335 4.5 5 15.0 1 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Playoffs Receiving and Rushing

Games Receiving Rushing Total Yds
Year Age Tm Pos G GS Tgt Rec Yds Y/R TD 1D Lng R/G Y/G Ctch% Y/Tgt Rush Yds TD 1D Lng Y/A Y/G A/G Touch Y/Tch YScm RRTD Fmb
2016 22 ATL TE 3 1 9 6 65 10.8 1 4 19 2.0 21.7 66.7% 7.2 6 10.8 65 1 0
2017 23 ATL TE 2 2 6 4 18 4.5 0 2 5 2.0 9.0 66.7% 3.0 4 4.5 18 0 0
Career 5 3 15 10 83 8.3 1 6 19 2.0 16.6 66.7% 5.5 10 8.3 83 1 0

Media Statements

 “It really came down to Cleveland and Washington,” Austin Hooper stated. “At the end, I chose to be a Brown.”

 “It’s too exciting of an opportunity to pass up,” says Hooper regarding playing with the Browns. On the topic of Baker Mayfield, he goes on to say, how hungry he is to win that’s something that really jumped out to me.”

 “Redskins were definitely a team that had shown interest I would say,” Hooper proclaimed. “Definitely a solid organization with another talented young quarterback so that was going to be my next landing spot.”

 “One of the teams they both were talking about in a very positive way was Cleveland, just speaking about the fan base and the city itself,” Hooper explained. “They sold the idea to me before legal tampering even occurred. By the time the Browns and I were actually able to speak for the first time … it was kind of already playing into my mind as a potential spot I really wanted to go and I am really excited.”

 More tight ends are on the field, baby,” says Hooper. “That is all you need to know.”

 “Being a mid-round draft pick, being a guy who didn’t really become a full-time starter until his second year and then every year in the league, I’m just trying to get better,” Hooper expressed.

 “I feel like that’s just my whole goal overall. Sophomore season in Atlanta was like 500 yards. Third year was under 700. This past year with less than three games left, I was under 800. My goal always is just to improve. I pride myself on being pretty consistent so I just want to keep grinding throughout the offseason and come back next year and just continue to get better. That is my mentality.”

 “The fan base and the culture: That was what they preached the most,” Hooper stated. “They said how much they enjoyed their time playing there. Obviously, they would have liked to win a couple more games throughout their time there, but they said that the fan base and the city is just so fully immersed in the Cleveland Browns and they are so tied into the Cleveland Browns. From what they said to me, it is just a unique experience.

 “Both of them without me even trying to sway them one way or another, both of them were like, ‘Yeah, that was by far the best football experience from a fan and a community perspective.’ That was something that really stood out to me because I feel like a lot of time the fans forget that the players are people. It sounds kind of weird, but from what those two guys have told me, there is actually less of a disconnect than other places. It is something that may seem trivial to some, but to a player like that, that speaks volumes.”