1. Austin Hooper, Tight End
When the Browns entered free agency during the 2020 offseason, there were expectations that they could be looking for another tight end since new head coach Kevin Stefanski loved using multiple players at the position. What wasn’t expected was for them to go after Austin Hooper and make him the highest-paid tight end in the game.
Since then, Hooper has been passed by other tight ends but he still enters 2021 as the No. 3 tight end in terms of cap hit at $8.25 million. That’s an awful lot for a guy who grabbed 46 receptions for 435 yards and four touchdowns while averaging just 9.5 yards per catch.
We know Hooper is capable of more, but considering he had his lowest number of receptions and yardage since his rookie season, he’s currently looking like a player who is overpaid.
What makes this even more difficult to watch is the fact that Hooper’s presence has limited David Njoku, who looked to be the best tight end on the field in 2020, but he was routinely kept on the sidelines in favor of Hooper and at times, rookie Harrison Bryant.
Entering the second season of his four-year deal, this year will be big for Hooper since they do have a way out of his contract heading into the 2022 season.