Don’t expect the Cleveland Browns to release Austin Hooper.
This isn’t a topic many are talking about but Adam the Bull brought it up on the radio today and it needs to be said; the Cleveland Browns would be fools to release Austin Hooper this year. The former two-time Pro Bowler came from the Atlanta Falcons at a time the team seemed ready to move on from David Njoku. They hadn’t drafted Harrison Bryant yet, and Hooper seemed like a godsend for Cleveland.
He was easily the slowest playmaker in Atlanta, but in Cleveland, many had hoped that wouldn’t be an issue. Then Cleveland saw that their entire pass-catching options were all about the same speed and the Browns quickly found themselves struggling to use guys like Hooper. Now, Hooper’s been targeted, but for one reason or another (some blame on Hooper, some on Baker Mayfield), the two haven’t hooked up that often.
It’s been a rough fit, as Njoku really showed that he was the better option in this system. Maybe Hooper isn’t cooked like a pro, but he sure isn’t fitting well with the lack of speedy playmakers in Atlanta.
It seems pretty obvious that I know Hooper isn’t a fit, so why would the Browns be fools for keeping him? Simple; he has a poison pill contract.
Don’t expect the Cleveland Browns to move on from Austin Hooper
Adam the Bull thought the team could move on from him, and flat out said the Browns would cut him and Case Keenum; it was his opinion, no doubt. We’ve seen no reports to substantiate anything. Yet, both men should go, it’s beyond obvious. Yet, if the Browns cut him before June 1, they’re eating $11 million this year. So you free up $2 million. Now you have to replace Hooper. Good job.
The figure remains the same if they cut him or trade him after June 1, but that figure becomes $3.7 this year and $7.5 next year. a More reasonable option, sure, but again, you still to replace him. So you’ll save $9 million this year, but you’ll then lose an extra $4 million in 2023 that needs to be accounted for. So you really save only $5 million this year, unless you sign a guy to a one-year deal.
It’s not like Hooper is a “bad” player. He’s just not a fit. So cutting him anytime soon wouldn’t make sense, due to the sizeable number he carries. The earliest it makes sense to cut him is June 2, 2023, when he will only be due $3.7 million that season and $3.7 million in 2024.
He may still get cut this year, that’s a possibility, it’s just not a decision that seems prudent or probable. Not with the sizeable amount of cap space the team has.