If the New England Patriots want to get Tom Brady some weapons, they should start with free agent tight end Austin Hooper.
The New England Patriots didn’t have much success at the tight end position in 2019, which means they will be prime suitors for the top tight ends hitting free agency. One ideal fit would be 25-year-old tight end Austin Hooper.
Anytime you lose a talent like the great Rob Gronkowski, there is going to be a great drop off. But what Tom Brady and the Patriots’ offense got from the tight end position last season was close to nothing.
That is no knock on the trio of Ben Watson, Matt LaCosse and Ryan Izzo. Then again, maybe it is as neither of the three were able to provide any consistency at the position. With all three combining for just 36 catches with two touchdowns, Patriots fans were hoping the grand scheme was for Gronkowski to un-retire somewhere around midseason.
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As that possibility seemed to derail every time Gronkowski made one of his “big announcements,” attention shifted to the NFL Draft Deadline where a player like Atlanta Falcons rising tight end Austin Hooper was deemed a possibility due to his pending free agency.
The New England Patriots did make a deal with the Atlanta Falcons, but it was for Mohamed Sanu. Now, they should have their sights set on pursuing Hooper on the free agency market. As a young, established tight end who should only get better, ESPN NFL analyst Matt Bowen believes Hooper is perfect for New England.
"“At age 25, with the route-running chops to win in the middle of the field, Hooper will have plenty of options on the open market,” Bowen wrote, via NESN. In 13 games last season, he caught 75 passes for 787 yards and five scores. An ideal fit for Hooper in 2020? Give me the Patriots.”"
Give Tom Brady a target like Austin Hooper and not only would the 42-year-old quarterback return, but Hooper would only see the numbers he put up in 2019 rise which makes him an intriguing target for the Patriots.
Of course, there will be cheaper options, but with Bill Belichick due to make a splash in free agency, which he seems to do every other year, bringing in a player like Hooper now only upgrades the tight end position, but would give the offense some more punch.
With top tight end free agent tight end Hunter Henry also out there, don’t be surprised if the 2020 New England Patriots have a resurgent tight end group led by either Hooper or Henry with Rob Gronkowski also back in the mix.