Falcons: Arthur Blank comments on Austin Hooper’s contract situation

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The Super Bowl hasn’t even come and gone yet, and the Austin Hooper contract saga is already full throttle. We’ve heard comments from Hoop himself, stating that he has yet to receive an offer from the Falcons. We’ve heardĀ from Thomas Dimitroff, hinting that the team probably can’t afford to keep Hooper under the franchise tag, which would pay him about $10.7 million in 2020. Now, we are hearing from the owner who had this to say to ESPN’s Vaughn Mcclure regarding his tight ends’ contract situation:

“I think he’s a young, ascending player, and he has performed at a very high level for us,” Blank told ESPN. “I think he’s worthy, certainly, of a new contract based on market. Whether that fits in with us and our salary cap remains to be seen.

Inevitably, this kind of talk is going to happen profusely over the next couple of months, just like it did with Grady Jarrett last offseason. My standpoint, regardless of comments from the player, GM, or owner, remains the same. The Falcons aren’t just going to let Austin Hooper walk. At the very least, Atlanta will franchise tag Hoop to give themselves leverage in negotiating a long-term contract, which will have to be signed by the July 15th deadline. And as I mentioned earlier this week, even if Hooper decided to roll the dice on the franchise tag this season (something players rarely do), the Falcons could trade him and receive compensation. There are a few ways this could go, but letting Hooper just walk out the door to another organization is not one of them.

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