Browns Tight End Austin Hooper May Become Baker Mayfield’s New Safety Net

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Every NFL quarterback needs an “old reliable,” someone he can count on for a clutch catch to keep the offense running while helping him develop an in-game rhythm. Said option may not get all the targets every week, but certainly enough to merit some defensive focus and free up primary receivers.

In 2018, wideout Rashard Higgins took this job for the Cleveland Browns, consistently ensuring quarterback Baker Mayfield could keep the sticks moving with a key reception.

In 2019…well, said role remained vacant for the most part. While this wasn’t the sole reason for Mayfield’s struggles last season, it certainly didn’t help the cause.

Though it’s early in training camp, initial results seem to indicate he’s found his safety net for the upcoming season — Austin Hooper.

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Casey Drottar is a Cleveland Indians writer for Sports Illustrated. Subscribe to his podcast, or follow him on Twitter and Facebook

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