Packers To Pursue Austin Hooper; Latest On Aaron Jones

An Aaron RodgersAustin Hooper connection is a pretty scary proposition for the Packers’ NFC rivals, and that’s exactly what Green Bay is hoping to create this offseason. Per Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com, the Packers want to add a receiving weapon in free agency and in the draft, and they plan to pursue Hooper, the best TE available on the free agent market.

Already this morning we heard that the Bears and Redskins are interested in Hooper, but given that they advanced to the NFC Championship Game in 2019 and have a future Hall of Famer under center, the Packers look like a much much more appealing landing spot for Hooper if they can make the money work. The 25-year-old will likely take home a contract paying him at least $12MM per season, and the tight end market as a whole is widely expected to be reset this year after it has stagnated for some time.

Indeed, the Packers’ own Jimmy Graham has long been the TE pacesetter in terms of average annual value ($10MM), but his play has not really merited that status in recent years. He did lead Green Bay tight ends with 38 catches for 447 yards in 2019, but an upgrade is definitely in order.

Hooper would provide just that. In 13 games for Atlanta in 2019, the 25-year-old two-time Pro Bowler set career-highs in receptions (75), yards (787), and touchdowns (six). Green Bay has often asked Rodgers to make hay out of an underwhelming receiving corps, and a combination of Davante Adams, Hooper, and perhaps a rookie WR from a class that is historically deep at the position would undoubtedly make A-Rod a very happy man. Adding Hooper may also allow the team to cut Graham and save about $8MM against the cap, which would help pay for Hooper’s salary.

Of course, the team also hopes RB Aaron Jones will stick around for the foreseeable future after a monster 2019 campaign as a do-it-all playmaker for the Green Bay offense. Jones is now eligible for an extension after having completed three years in the league, and Demovsky says the Packers were scheduled to meet with his reps at the scouting combine. Jones, a 2017 fifth-rounder, is interested in having contract talks.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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12 comments on “Packers To Pursue Austin Hooper; Latest On Aaron Jones

  1. dray16

    why didn’t they keep Jared Cook? Because Rodgers doesn’t throw to TEs and there offense doesn’t utilize that position correctly. Go ahead, sign him and he’ll likely have his lowest output of his career

    • jewishman

      Tell that to JerMichael Finley who had some great years with Aaron Rodgers the Pack and was widely known around the league as one of the best tight ends at the time

      • KYRedSox17

        The 1 great Finley season was the super bowl. Also Finley was more of a giant WR. Every other TE experiment has failed. Hooper could work. Maybe. But I am far from sold given the TE history with Rodgers. Go Pack Go.

        • illowa

          Since Finley was more like giant wr and they dont ultilize the te, how bout drafting someone like chase claypoole from nd. Not a tight end and a huge receiver that could help out.

    • HailRodgers12$

      McFleur actually emphasizes the TE position, something McCarthy didn’t really do that well.

      As for Cook, I believe there was interest from GB’s side, but he opted for a bigger payday.

      That said, I’m not a fan of bringing in a TE at $12+ mil/year with Graham’s failure the last 2 years fresh in my mind. See what Sternberger and Tonyan can do, and maybe bring back Lewis as a veteran presence.

    • metsie1

      Jared Cook was the TE under McCarthy. So LaFleur a different HC has a completely different offense but don’t let that get in the way of your talking points.

    • thebfr21

      Rodgers always threw too tight ends when we had one! We haven’t had one since Finley… Go back and watch game tape especially against Arizona in the playoffs and see what an athletic fast TE can do for your offense!

      • dray16

        go look at some more film, Rodgers doesn’t use the middle of the field because he’s scared of throwing picks. only uses the middle of the field when he dumps off to a RB. Rodgers doesn’t throw to TEs, it’s not the system, it’s him.

        • HailRodgers12$

          So now its a bad thing to not (want to) throw interceptions? I mean, I guess if you’re used to seeing Nears QB’s do it regularly it might seem normal, but its really not a good thing for team success.

  2. bogart

    If I’m Gutey… I cut Bulaga (old, injury prone), cut Graham (old, slow, can’t block), draft a premier ILB, WR, draft a bunch of OL and DL, and PAY Hooper. It’s darn near impossible to find a TE that can catch and block!

    • HailRodgers12$

      Bulaga is a free agent, but he is coming off possibly his best year as a pro. I don’t feel they can plug someone in there with the 30th overall pick and expect a similar level of play. If gute can get him to accept a bit of a discount for 2 years I think they have to do that.
      It’d take more I believe to sign Hooper than bulaga, and I think a trio of Sternberger, Tonyan and Lewis can surprise people. Graham for sure needs to go.

      I’d definitely focus more on wr than TE.

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