The Facts: Falcons owner Arthur Blank on Wednesday sang the praises of Hooper, an unrestricted free agent the team would like to re-sign but has not made a full commitment to just yet. Speaking from the Super Bowl in Miami, Blank addressed whether the team planned to make Hooper a "Falcon for life," as has become Blank's catchphrase before signing top players to lucrative deals. "I think he's a young, ascending player, and he has performed at a very high level for us," Blank told ESPN. "I think he's worthy, certainly, of a new contract based on market. Whether that fits in with us and our salary cap remains to be seen."
Diehards Line: Hooper is arguably the most important pending free agent in the Falcons' bunch, although there is interest in the status of pass-rusher Vic Beasley Jr. and linebacker De'Vondre Campbell. The Falcons already informed kicker Younghoe Koo of intentions to tender him as an exclusive-rights free agent at $660,000. As previously noted, Hooper is certain to draw interest if he reaches free agency on March 18, based on his ability and age. The floor for Hooper is likely to start at $10 million per year and $22 million guaranteed, based on the current market for tight ends. The Falcons have yet to extend an offer. Dimitroff mentioned the franchise tag as a possibility, but using that to keep Hooper under contract in 2020 seems highly unlikely. Hooper, 25, finished this past season with a career-high 75 catches for 787 yards and six touchdowns despite missing three games with an MCL sprain.