With legal tampering across the NFL beginning at 12 p.m. ET on Monday, it didn't take long for the Cleveland Browns to make a splash.
According to Ian Rapoport, Tom Peliserro and Mike Silver of the NFL Network, the Browns have agreed to a deal with free agent Austin Hooper, which will make him the highest-paid tight end in the NFL.
Selected by the Atlanta Falcons in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft, the 25-year-old Hooper has established a reputation as one of the league's most dynamic tight ends through his first four seasons in the league. In 2019, he tallied 75 receptions for 787 yards and 6 touchdowns in 13 games, earning his second consecutive Pro Bowl selection.
According to ESPN's Vaughn McClure, Hooper's contract with the Browns is for $44 million over four seasons. Los Angeles Chargers tight end Hunter Henry was previously the sport's highest-paid player at the position with a salary of $10,607,000.
In coming to Cleveland, Hooper joins Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt to surround quarterback Baker Mayfield with what should make up one of the NFL's most potent collection of skill players. And while Hooper's signing could be viewed as a negative for former first-round pick David Njoku, it's worth noting that new head coach Kevin Stefanski has a history of running two tight-end sets.
The Browns' signing of Hooper can't become official until the new league year begins on Wednesday.
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