Tight end Austin Hooper (81) gives the Browns another offensive weapon. Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Tight end Austin Hooper to the Browns is terrific for Baker Mayfield

The Cleveland Browns may have just gotten scarier offensively. Why? Because they're reportedly adding a two-time Pro Bowler to their roster.

The Browns and free-agent tight end Austin Hooper are closing in on a record deal to make him football's highest-paid TE, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

The news broke shortly after the NFL's legal tampering period began Monday, but players won't be able to sign with teams until the new league year opens on Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET.

Obviously, anything can happen ahead of Wednesday afternoon, but if the Browns truly have Hooper in their pocket, it'll be terrific news for quarterback Baker Mayfield.

Hooper is a two-time Pro Bowler, like we mentioned above, and had a breakout year with the Atlanta Falcons in 2019 with 75 receptions for 787 yards and six touchdowns.

If the 25-year-old does end up signing with the Browns, Mayfield will have a pretty talented offensive group, including:

  • Odell Beckham Jr. - 1,035 yards, four touchdowns in 2019
  • Jarvis Landry - 1,174 yards, six touchdowns
  • Austin Hooper - 787 yards, six touchdowns
  • Nick Chubb - 1,494 yards, eight touchdowns
  • Kareem Hunt - 179 yards, two touchdowns (eight games)
  • David Njoku - 41 yards, one touchdown (four games)

With all this star power, will Mayfield screw it up like he did last season? Freddie Kitchens essentially ruined the Browns last season, but Mayfield still threw 21 interceptions — just one shy of his 22 touchdowns on the season.

Kevin Stefanski, Cleveland's new head coach, is set to bring a new look to this Browns squad that was supposed to be destined for greatness last season.

Adding Hooper to the arsenal will only make the Browns a stronger team down the stretch, and we can only assume Mayfield will rely on him heavily throughout the season.

Hooper has more experience and is more skilled than Njoku at the tight end position, which will give Mayfield a much better option in the receiving game. And did we mention Hooper will be able to block to allow Chubb to have another stellar year as the team's running back?

This signing isn't just good for the Browns — it's good for Mayfield as he gears up for his third season at the helm of Cleveland's offense.

Erin Walsh is a Boston sports fan through and through. Although many think Boston sports fans are insufferable, Erin tries to see things from a neutral perspective. Her passion is hockey, and she believes defense wins championships. In addition to covering sports for Yardbarker, she covers Boston sports for NBC Sports Boston. Follow her on Twitter @ewalsh90


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Odell Beckham Jr.
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Irving Fryar
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Terry Glenn
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