Austin Hooper is close to a deal with the Cleveland Browns that will make him the NFL’s highest-paid tight end, a source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
Hooper, 25, is coming off his best NFL season, with 75 catches for 787 yards and six touchdowns in 2019 with Atlanta. He posted those numbers despite missing three games with an MCL sprain.
The Browns, as expected, released safety Morgan Burnett, who suffered a season-ending Achilles injury last year. Burnett started eight games before the injury. The move underscores the work the Browns will need to do at safety this offseason. Right now, they have Sheldrick Redwine, who was a rookie last year, and really not much else at the position.
The Browns have placed a second-round tender on RB Kareem Hunt. As a restricted free agent, Hunt is free to negotiate with other teams. The Browns, though, have the right to match any offer. If they decline, they’ll get a second-round pick from the team that signs him. Given his past, it will be interesting to see what the market might be for Hunt. But he remains in the plans of what Cleveland wants to do offensively in 2020.