Source: Cleveland Browns to release TE Austin Hooper, save $9.5M against salary cap

BEREA, Ohio -- The Cleveland Browns are releasing tight end Austin Hooper, a source told ESPN's Jeremy Fowler.

By releasing him with a post-June 1 designation, the Browns will save $9.5 million against the cap.

The Browns signed Hooper in 2020, coming off his best season with the Atlanta Falcons, when he caught 75 receptions for 787 yards and six touchdowns.

Hooper's production, however, waned in Cleveland, as he finished with only 38 receptions for 345 yards and three touchdowns last season while starting alongside tight end David Njoku in Cleveland's two-tight-end base offense.

With the Browns recently placing the franchise tag on Njoku, Hooper became expendable. Harrison Bryant, who has played a key role in Cleveland's tight end rotation the past two seasons since being drafted out of Florida Atlantic, will slide into Hooper's starting role, provided the Browns don't bring in another tight end.

The Browns have also re-signed LB Anthony Walker to a one-year, $5 million deal, his agents Drew Rosenhaus and Ryan Matha tell ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Walker registered 113 total tackles (69 solo) and a sack in 13 games for the Browns last season.

In another move on Wednesday, the Browns said they are bringing back offensive lineman Chris Hubbard. The deal is for one year, a source told Fowler.