Austin Hooper would be perfect for the Bears

Atlanta Falcons, Chicago Bears, NFL Free Agency

Tight end Austin Hooper isn’t expected to be back with the Atlanta Falcons, so a perfect spot for him in his free agency has to be the Chicago Bears.

Austin Hooper is about to make bank in his impending free agency.

Even though the Atlanta Falcons may want to keep the two-time Pro Bowl tight end, they know they can’t afford to bring back their former third-round pick out of Stanford. Atlanta has the third-worst salary cap situation in football and will sadly have to let a player of Hooper’s caliber hit the open market.

While he is expected to have a ton of potential suitors, Hooper would be a phenomenal fit with the Chicago Bears on a new contract. Chicago could not need a tight end more than it does entering this offseason. Somehow, someway, the Bears managed to not have a single tight end on their roster amass 100 receiving yards in 2019. How is that even possible in the modern NFL?

The cat’s been out of the bag for a while now, but it 100 percent is a Mitchell Trubisky problem. 2020 is the year Chicago needs to figure out if he is its starting quarterback going forward. By adding a proven Pro Bowl tight end to the mix in free agency, there are no excuses. Either Hooper will aid in Trubisky’s growth or the Stanford product could have a new Bears quarterback in 2021.

Could Hooper be the beneficiary of having a future Hall-of-Fame quarterback throwing him the ball in Matt Ryan? Yes, but Bears head coach Matt Nagy would be ecstatic to have something close to resembling Travis Kelce at the tight end position. Hooper isn’t in the same tight end class as Kelce, George Kittle or Zach Ertz, but is only one level below in this positional hierarchy.

Adding Hooper would give the Bears more flexibility in the passing game. He would accentuate what Chicago already has at wide receiver in Allen Robinson, as well as the underrated pass-catcher out of the backfield in running back Tarik Cohen. In short, Trubisky will have more than enough to succeed as a starting quarterback, if he ever is going to live up to being the No. 2 pick.

Ultimately, the Bears will have to overpay to get a player of Hooper’s caliber. There are no guarantees he’ll be a Pro Bowler again in his career. However, he has proven to be adaptable in changing NFL offenses, as he made a Pro Bowl under Steve Sarkisian in 2018 and under Dirk Koetter in 2019. Could he make it three years in a row under Bill Lazor? We’ll have to wait and see.

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