The Atlanta Falcons have Pro Bowl tight end Austin Hooper under contract for one more season. But on Thursday, Atlanta added depth to the position by signing veteran Luke Stocker.
While the 30-year-old played for the Tennessee Titans last season, he's spent most of his career in the NFC South with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Stocker has been used almost entirely as a blocking tight end during his career, as he's never caught more than 16 passes in any of his eight seasons.
In his career, Stocker has posted 68 receptions on 102 targets for 577 receiving yards. He also has five touchdowns. Last season with the Titans, Stocker posted 15 catches for 165 yards and two scores. In seven years with the Buccaneers, Stocker hauled in 52 passes for 400 yards and three touchdowns.
He will compete with Eric Saubert, who had five receptions last season, for the No. 2 tight end spot behind Hooper. Saubert was a fifth-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
This signing probably won't have a major impact on the Falcons chances of getting back to the playoffs in 2019, but it does likely mean Atlanta won't be drafting a tight end this April. Despite a deep draft class at the position, with three tight ends already on the roster, it makes little sense to add a fourth, especially if the Falcons are already planning behind the scenes to re-sign Hooper, who will be a free agent next March.