Does the Emergence of Terrance Williams Make Miles Austin Expendable?

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In the last two games, rookie wideout Terrance Williams has emerged as a more reliable offensive weapon for the Dallas Cowboys. His four reception, 151 yards and one touchdown performance in just his second start in the NFL proved the Dallas native is growing before our eyes. All while wideout Miles Austin is on the bench due to yet another hamstring injury.

Sep 22, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys receiver Miles Austin (19) is tackled by St. Louis Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins (21) after a catch in the second quarter at AT

Even more concerning for the veteran receiver, Dallas had one of their best offensive receiving days in Cowboys history…without him. Does this mean Austin is now expendable?

It appears the 30-year old’s days are certainly numbered in Dallas. Austin is scheduled to make over $23 million in the next three years. It is certainly an amount the Cowboys will not be willing to pay, especially considering his history of injuries and lack of performance. So far this season, Austin has recorded 15 receptions for 125 yards. Williams has 16 catches for 282 yards and a touchdown in that same amount of time.

Austin signed a seven year, $57 million deal after a break-out 2009-10 season in which he recorded 81 receptions for 1320 yards and 11 touchdowns. Since then, the undrafted free agent out of Monmouth hasn’t repeated that success. With the upcoming expected extensions for wideout Dez Bryant and defensive tackle Jason Hatcher on the horizon, salary cap space is dwindling. And Austin may become Dallas’ latest cap casualty.

It is unlikely Dallas would trade Austin, due to his injury history. At this point, his value is at an all-time low. A more plausible resolution will be a renegotiation of his contract at years’ end. It’s very similar to what the Cowboys did this off-season with offensive tackle Doug Free. The Cowboys front office offered to release Free or retain him at half his current salary. Free, the most penalized lineman in the NFL last season, elected the latter.

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