Tavon Austin

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/30/21

Here are Thursday’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars Designate WR Tavon Austin For Return

Tavon Austin‘s debut with the Jaguars could be imminent. The veteran wideout was designated for return from IR today, the team announced.

This move will start a three-week clock. Austin can be activated to the active roster at any point over the next 21 days. If he isn’t activated within that time, Austin will be ineligible to play this year (although this would most likely be avoided by his release).

Austin joined the Jaguars in early August, and the team showed that they intended to keep him around when he survived final cuts. The team subsequently put him on short-term IR due to a quad injury, leading to today’s move.

The veteran hasn’t come close to matching the production from his days with the Rams. Over the past four years, Austin has seen time in 41 games (nine starts), collecting 756 yards from scrimmage and five touchdowns on 110 touches. This included a 2020 campaign when he had only five catches for 20 yards in four games with the Packers.

Jacksonville has a talented grouping of receivers in DJ Chark. Marvin Jones, and Laviska Shenault, but Austin would provide another savvy target for Trevor Lawrence. The Jaguars already prepared for Austin’s return when they moved on from practice squad receiver Phillip Dorsett today.

Jaguars Place Tavon Austin On IR

The Jaguars have placed wide receiver Tavon Austin on injured reserve, per a club announcement. The team did not disclose Austin’s injury, but the issue will keep him sidelined for an extended period.

It’s a frustrating setback for Austin, who lost time to injury last year with the Niners. He healed up later in the season to join the Packers, but didn’t see a ton of snaps in Green Bay. All in all, he finished with five catches for 20 yards across four games as a Packer.

Austin, the eighth overall pick of the 2013 draft, has been used more as a gadget player and returner than a true receiver in recent years. He was expected to return punts for the Jaguars and see some time in the new-look offense, but those plans have been scuttled for now.

He played really well Sunday,” head coach Urban Meyer told reporters on Tuesday . “We think with Joe and with Tosh, he’s a guy that it’s time to play. He’s been around and I can see the urgency in his look, in his practice and in the way he played.”

With Austin out of the picture, the Jaguars are left with five receivers in DJ Chark, Marvin Jones, Laviska Shenault, Jamal Agnew, and Tyron Johnson.

Jaguars To Sign WR Tavon Austin

The Jaguars have agreed to sign wide receiver/kick returner Tavon Austin (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo). Terms of the deal are not yet known, but it’s likely a low-cost, one-year deal.

Austin signed with the 49ers in August of 2020, but was placed on injured reserve before the season started. After his release, he hooked on with the Packers. At the time of signing, the Packers didn’t seem to have much depth at WR beyond Davante Adams, but Austin didn’t see a ton of action on offense. All in all, he finished with five catches for 20 yards across four games.

Austin, the eighth overall pick of the 2013 draft, has been used more as a gadget player and returner than a true receiver in recent years. He may still offer big play ability, although at 31 he’s not quite as explosive as he used to be. Austin may get a chance to return punts for the Jaguars, but he’ll have to solidify his roster spot over the next few weeks.

Jets Host Tavon Austin

The Jets have already given significant money to Corey Davis and Keelan Cole this offseason, but they might not be done adding receivers. New York worked out veteran Tavon Austin on Wednesday, a source told Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link).

It seems a contract is a real possibility, since Rapoport writes that it “sounded like it went well.” Austin has appeared on the verge of falling out of the league a couple of times, but has been able to find additional chances. He signed with the 49ers right before the start of last season, but was placed on IR prior to final cuts and then later released. He managed to latch on with the Packers in December and played in four games for Green Bay, catching five passes.

Notably, Aaron Rodgers highlighted Austin late in the season as someone who made a very positive impact on the locker room. Perhaps that’s what the Jets are looking for here. Austin was a big name player coming out of college after a decorated career at West Virginia, and the Rams drafted him eighth overall in 2013.

He made a number of splash plays, and had a punt return touchdown in each of his first three pro seasons, but never lived up to his draft status. His career-high in receiving yards was 509 back in 2016. The Rams traded him to the Cowboys in April of 2018, and he spent the next two seasons in Dallas.

He was mostly used as a gadget player by the Cowboys, with only 21 receptions and 12 rush attempts in 21 games with the team. He turned 31 in March.

Packers To Sign Tavon Austin

Tavon Austin is back in the league. The Packers will be signing the veteran wide receiver, a source told Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (Twitter link).

Austin signed with the 49ers back in August, but was placed on injured reserve before the season started. He was released from IR last month, and has been a free agent ever since. Green Bay isn’t super deep at wideout beyond Davante Adams, so this is a flyer that can’t really hurt. That being said, Austin has been used more as a gadget player and returner than a true receiver in recent years.

The eighth overall pick of the 2013 draft, Austin spent his first five seasons with the Rams. Current Packers coach Matt LaFleur was his offensive coordinator with the Rams for the 2017 season, so there’s some familiarity here. He never came close to living up to his draft status, but Austin had some electric moments with the Rams due to his speed.

He’s got big play ability, although at 30 now he’s probably not quite as explosive as he used to be. Austin spent the past two seasons with Dallas, and caught 13 passes for 177 yards and a touchdown last year. He also returned punts for the Cowboys and Rams, and it’s possible he’ll reprise that role in Green Bay. We don’t know the terms yet, although it’s fairly safe to assume he didn’t get any significant money.

Packers To Meet With Tavon Austin

The Packers will work out Tavon Austin, as Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. The former Rams and Cowboys wide receiver has yet to see live action this year. 

Austin, the No. 9 overall pick in the 2013 draft, joined the 49ers over the summer and was said to be playing well in training camp. Then, when a knee injury forced him to IR, he was cut loose. Austin has never come close to justifying his draft status, but his speed and versatility continues to intrigue coaches around the league. In theory, Austin could feature as a receiver, rusher, and returner for the Packers.

Of course, health has been Austin’s biggest stumbling block as a pro. Over seven injury-laden years in the NFL, Austin has notched 215 receptions while averaging just 9.3 yards per catch. For what it’s worth, he did average more than 15 yards per grab over the last two seasons with the Cowboys, but that was in a super small sample size of 21 receptions.

The Austin audition comes after Darrius Shepherd fumbled on a kickoff return against the Colts. With over 200 career kick and punt returns on his resume, a special teams role could be Austin’s quickest path to getting back on the field.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/27/20

Here are Tuesday’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Buffalo Bills

  • Promoted: LB Andre Smith
  • Released from reserve/retired list: DB Isiah Brown

Denver Broncos

Minnesota Vikings

New York Giants

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

49ers Place Tavon Austin On IR

It’s a bad year to be a 49ers wide receiver. Nick Wagoner of ESPN.com reports that Tavon Austin, whom San Francisco signed last month due to injuries to other wideouts, is headed to IR with a knee injury (Twitter link). Austin was signed on the same day as J.J. Nelson, who was recently placed on IR as well.

It’s an especially tough break for Austin, who was performing well in training camp and who may have been a valuable chess piece in head coach Kyle Shanahan‘s offense. Deebo Samuel appears unlikely to be available at the start of the season, first-round rookie Brandon Aiyuk‘s hamstring injury makes his status uncertain, and Jalen Hurd will miss the entire campaign due to an ACL tear, so Austin may actually have been in line for a sizable role.

The good news for the Niners is that Richie James has been activated from the NFI list. James had been dealing with a broken wrist, but it appears that he is on track for Week 1. He has served as the club’s primary return specialist over the last two seasons, and with Austin out of the picture, it seems likely that he will reprise that role in 2020.

The 49ers, though, could still use some depth at WR, and one wonders if the recently-released Mohamed Sanu could spark GM John Lynch‘s interest. As Darin Gantt of Pro Football Talk writes, Lynch did not rule out a potential Sanu signing when asked about it this afternoon. Sanu played for Shanahan in Atlanta in 2016, when the latter was working as the Falcons’ OC.

49ers Rumors: Reed, Bosa, Ford, Juszczyk

One of the NFL’s most injury-prone players, Jordan Reed considered retirement after missing all of the 2019 season. The ex-Washington tight end dealt with another concussion last year, adding to a lengthy list of head injuries for the former Pro Bowler. But he signed with the 49ers this summer and is set to back up George Kittle.

I definitely thought about hanging it up after last season,” Reed said, via the San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Branch. “But it was when I watched the Super Bowl is what really ignited me again. I want to play in those big games. … Before I made my decision, I saw some professionals. And I did my rehab. All the tests were clear. I’m healthy and I’m good to go.”

Following last season, Reed has missed 25 NFL games because of concussions. He also suffered at least one in each of his three Florida seasons. The 30-year-old playmaker signed a one-year deal worth the veteran minimum ($1.05MM for an eighth-year player).

Here is the latest out of San Francisco:

  • Both Nick Bosa and Dee Ford are currently sidelined with injuries. Bosa is dealing with a strained muscle, while Ford is battling a calf malady. However, Kyle Shanahan said Wednesday he would be “very surprised” if his high-end edge rushers were unavailable for Week 1, via ESPN.com’s Nick Wagoner (on Twitter). Bosa dealt with a high ankle sprain during the 49ers’ 2019 training camp but played every game last season. Ford ran into knee and foot trouble and was limited to a part-time role.
  • Kyle Juszczyk is also on the shelf for the 49ers. The acclaimed fullback suffered a hamstring strain, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area notes. The 49ers, however, expect him to be ready by the time they face the Cardinals in Week 1.
  • During a late-summer wide receiver shuffle, the 49ers placed J.J. Nelson on IR and cut Jaron Brown. Kevin White and Tavon Austin remain on the roster, and the latter has performed well during camp, Branch notes. A former top-10 pick who turned 30 this year, Austin has not met expectations as a pro. But he’s played seven NFL seasons and, despite being listed as a wideout, has 10 rushing TDs in his career. San Francisco remains down Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk as well, complicating its receiver depth chart. Injuries will certainly play a key part in how the 49ers’ receiver group looks after Saturday’s roster cutdown.
  • Despite White and Austin being vested veterans, each would be eligible for a practice squad spot. Due to the pandemic, teams can use up to six of their 16 P-squad slots on veterans with any amount of NFL experience this year. Shanahan is interested in taking advantage of this one-time-only luxury. “I love the fact that they’ll let us have vets on it,” the fourth-year 49ers coach said (via Maiocco). “I understand that some players won’t want to do that, but we’ll do our best to tell them why we think it’s a good opportunity for them.” Vested vets are slated to earn $12K per week on the taxi squad this season.