Austin, 30, was selected by the Rams with the ninth overall pick of the 2013 draft. The club could not resist Austin’s playmaking ability as a receiver, rusher, and returner, and while he has certainly had his moments of explosiveness, injuries have also dogged him throughout his career.
Over his seven years in the league, Austin has caught 215 passes and has averaged less than 10 yards per reception, which is disappointing for a player with his speed. The two years he spent in Dallas from 2018-19 saw him average over 15 yards per catch, but he was limited to seven games in 2018 and totaled just 21 receptions during his time with the Cowboys.
However, the Rams utilized him as a ball carrier much more than the Cowboys did, and he does boast a strong 6.8 yard-per-carry average. And that’s to say nothing of his return experience. While he has not returned more than three kickoffs in a season since his rookie campaign, he has returned 185 punts in his career, with a career return average of 7.9 yards to go along with three house calls.
If anyone can get the most out of Austin’s ability, it’s 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan. With Marquise Goodwin and Travis Benjamin out of the picture, Shanahan could use some speed in his WR depth chart, and the team could also benefit from an experienced punt returner given Richie James‘ injury concerns.
Austin has earned nearly $40MM in his career, but his next contract may not be for much more than the veteran minimum.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.