Chicago Bears sign or pass: Austin Hooper

Chicago Bears (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) /

Should the Chicago Bears target Austin Hooper in free agency?

The Chicago Bears have had serious issues at tight end. It may arguably be their most significant need heading into the 2020 offseason. This brings us to Austin Hooper.

Hooper has progressed statistically every year with the Atlanta Falcons through four seasons. Now, there is a chance that he is going to test the market.

Is Hooper the perfect tight end fit for the Bears, or is there a reason the Falcons may let him walk despite his production?


Have you seen the Bears tight end room? They need this. Fans do not like Trey Burton at the moment, but the reality is he can be an excellent addition to any offense as a complimentary piece. The Bears relied on him too much in 2018, and he was shot physically in  2019.

If he comes back in 2020 health, they have to limit what he does and use him in specific roles. With that in mind, Hooper and Burton would be good compliments to each other.

Burton would fill the “U” role and Hooper the “F.” The totem pole effect and pushing Burton down to number already makes him look better.


Between Hooper and Burton, neither stretch the seam. According to PFF, 75% of Hooper’s production came within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. He is reliable when it comes to sitting in zone and moving the chains, but he does not put fear in linebackers.

Burton is better with quick flares and sitting zone as well, and neither threatens the deep seam. Defenses can creep in and force this team to throw deep.

Beyond that, Hooper has gone from a strong run blocker to a player the Falcons do not use as a blocker. He allowed three pressures last season, but only had 35 pass-blocking snaps. His run blocking snaps have gone down as well as his run blocking production.

Beyond that, Hooper is projected to get a $40 million contract over four years, according to The Bears need a more dynamic threat or at least someone who can help fix the run game for that type of money.

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Hooper is a reliable pass catcher and is good enough as a blocker to the point where he will get that money. It may not be in Chicago, though.