An NFL salary cap analyst in Brad Spielberger believes that the Miami Dolphins could be a landing spot for tight end Austin Hooper, who spent the 2023 regular season playing for the Las Vegas Raiders.
“This is a buy-low move for Miami to get a complement to Durham Smythe, an in-house favorite who is a reliable tight end for an offense that leans heavily on 11 and 21 personnel,” Spielberger wrote. “Hooper can sit down in the soft spots of zones and rack up some yards after the catch with all the room created by Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle.”
Hooper appeared in every one of the Raiders’ 17 games during the regular season and logged nine starts. In his first season in Las Vegas, he accumulated 234 receiving yards and 12 first downs receiving on 25 receptions. Plus, he averaged 13.8 receiving yards per game with the Raiders.
Arguably Hooper’s best game with the Raiders this season came in the team’s matchup against the Denver Broncos on Jan. 7. He finished with 39 receiving yards on four receptions, and his longest reception was for 21 yards.
While the 29-year-old had himself a solid season in Las Vegas, he was more productive when he was playing for the Atlanta Falcons franchise earlier in his NFL career. He earned two Pro Bowl nods in his four seasons with the Falcons, with arguably his best season coming in the 2019 campaign.
In 13 games played and 10 starts with Atlanta during the 2019 regular season, his final season with the Falcons, he racked up 787 receiving yards, six receiving touchdowns and 41 first downs receiving.
As Spielberger alluded to, the Dolphins have two of the more explosive wide receivers in the league in Hill and Waddle. Waddle totaled 1,014 receiving yards, four receiving touchdowns and 47 first downs receiving in 14 games played with Miami this season.
Hill, meanwhile, played in 16 of Miami’s 17 regular-season games and finished with a league-high 1,799 receiving yards. He also finished first in the NFL in receiving touchdowns (13) and receiving yards per game (112.4) in his second season with the Dolphins.
Hooper stands out as someone who could be worthwhile for the Dolphins to target, considering he is just a few seasons removed from being one of the best tight ends in the NFL and has yet to turn 30 years old. Here’s to hoping that Miami can figure out a way to add him to its roster in the near future.