Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said three key players, including starters Austin Hooper and De'Vondre Campbell, will likely hit the open market when the new league years begins on March 18, but made it clear that he would like to have all three back in 2020.
Dimitroff said on Tuesday at the NFL combine in Indianapolis that "while it's never easy to let good players get to the market," he's hopeful that the Falcons will be able to re-sign Hooper, Campbell and Wes Schweitzer, a key reserve offensive lineman who made seven starts in 2019.
"This does not necessarily close the door on their time with the Falcons and we fully intend on negotiating with them in the free agency period as we work through our roster-building scenarios," Dimitroff said. "Oftentimes you have to look at what the market is to determine whether you're willing, as an organization, to step up and pay those players a certain amount of money."
Hooper, 25, is coming off the best season of his career and has emerged as a consistent weapon for the Falcons since Atlanta selected him in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft. His 75 receptions, 787 receiving yards and six touchdowns made him one of the most productive tight ends in the NFL last season, and he earned his second Pro Bowl invitation as a result.
In his four seasons with the Falcons, Hooper caught 214 passes for 2,244 yards and 16 touchdowns, and his production increased with each successive season. Since he entered the league in 2016, Hooper has the sixth-most receptions and the ninth-most receiving yards and touchdowns among all NFL tight ends.
The 26-year-old Campbell is coming off his best season in a Falcons uniform. Drafted in the fourth round (115th overall) out of Minnesota in the 2016 NFL Draft, Campbell has steadily improved through each of his four seasons in Atlanta. In 2019, he tallied career-highs in combined tackles (129), solo tackles (75), tackles for loss (six), forced fumbles (three) and interceptions (two).
Campbell put together a number of impressive performances this past season. In Week 4 against the Tennessee Titans, he recorded a career-high 17 tackles (seven solo) in the 24-10 loss. The following week against the Houston Texans, Campbell led the Falcons with 11 tackles (six solo) in a 53-32 loss on the road.
Schweitzer, 26, started seven games in 2019 and saw action in 15 games. A sixth-round draft pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Schweitzer has played in 46 games with 36 starts in three seasons with the Falcons.
Here is a look at all players set to enter free agency when the new league year begins on March 18. Restricted free agents and exclusive rights free agents are noted in the captions.