BEREA, Ohio — The Browns are working toward a deal with two-time Pro Bowl free agent tight end Austin Hooper, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.
Hooper was one of the main free agency targets for Cleveland, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because teams can’t officially announce deals until Wednesday.
Hooper has spent the past four seasons with the Atlanta Falcons. He’s had more than 70 catches the past two seasons.
NFL Network reported the sides have agreed to terms on a package that will make Hooper the NFL’s highest-paid tight end.
By adding the 25-year-old Hooper, the Browns will have another offensive playmaker for quarterback Baker Mayfield, who struggled in his second NFL season. Hooper will be a dependable option to go along with star wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry and running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.
New Browns coach Kevin Stefanski preferred to run two-tight end formations during his one season as Minnesota’s offensive coordinator. Hooper could be paired with 2017 first-round pick David Njoku, who missed most of last season with a broken wrist suffered in Week 2.
Hooper had 75 catches for 787 yards and six touchdowns last season.