Austin Hooper stayed close to Matt Ryan throughout the offseason

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The Falcons haven’t had a high-end tight end since Tony Gonzalez retired after the 2013 season. They may be on the verge of getting one.

Austin Hooper, who had 49 catches for 526 yards in 2017, has been keeping close to the guy who distributes the footballs for the Falcons, in the hopes of generating even more for Atlanta in 2018.

As explained by Peter King of NBC’s Football Morning in America, Hooper remained in Atlanta throughout the offseason, working out consistently with quarterback Matt Ryan.

“Hooper’s been like a dog this offseason — over and over, he’d catch everything Matt threw and bring it back,” coach Dan Quinn told King, who explains that, whenever Ryan was looking for a throwing partner this offseason, Hooper answered the call.

In five seasons with Ryan and the Falcons, Gonzalez averaged nearly 82 catches and nearly 840 yards per season. While Hooper may not end up with those numbers, something in the middle of Hooper’s performance last year and Gonzalez’s year-in, year-out production would give the offense a great boost.