The top free agent target probably won’t be a free agent for long.
According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Austin Hooper and the Cleveland Browns are closing in on a deal.
The Cleveland Browns are working to close a deal on Austin Hooper, making him the game's highest paid tight end, per source. Other teams can swoop in late but Browns the leader.
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) March 16, 2020
Fowler’s report came just 37 minutes after the NFL’s legal tampering period opened. However, players aren’t eligible to sign with teams until the new league year opens Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET. So, until then, teams technically still could talk to Hooper, like Fowler alluded to.
Hooper spent four years with the Atlanta Falcons, enjoying a breakout season in 2019. He made 75 receptions for 787 yards and six touchdowns in 13 games last season.