In 2013, the Rams were blown away by the blazing speed of Tavon Austin and used the No. 8 overall pick draft to secure him. In 2016, the Rams inked him a four-year, $42MM extension, making him the 12th highest-paid wide receiver in the NFL at the time. Today, Austin finds himself on the Cowboys’ roster bubble.
Austin still possesses game-changing speed, but injuries continue to hold him back. Last year, a groin pull limited him to just seven games in which he caught eight passes for 140 yards and two touchdowns, which more or less sums up his career to date – Austin put up a DeSean Jackson-type yards per catch average, but couldn’t stay on the field.
Austin also holds appeal for his ability to play out of the backfield and serve as a slippery returner, but both roles seem to have been filled in Dallas. The Cowboys tapped Memphis product Tony Pollard in the draft to play as the change-of-pace back behind star Ezekiel Elliott and return kicks. Meanwhile, newcomer Randall Cobb is slated to be the Cowboys’ main slot receiver.
Wide receivers Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and Cobb are locks for the roster and Allen Hurns isn’t far behind in the pecking order. That leaves one, or possibly two, WR spots on the 53-man roster, and Noah Brown and Jon’Vea Johnson both seem to have a leg up on Austin, who was limited in OTAs and minicamp.
The Cowboys re-upped Austin on a one-year deal in the spring, but the pact includes just $500K guaranteed. Unless Austin can quickly prove that he is healthy and ready to make an impact, he’ll likely be released in the coming weeks.
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