The Dallas Cowboys traded for playmaker Tavon Austin last season. But could the dynamic receiver now be the odd man out in Big D?
When the Dallas Cowboys traded a sixth-round selection during the 2018 NFL Draft to the Los Angeles Rams for fifth-year veteran receiver Tavon Austin, America’s Team was hoping to turn his career around. A dynamic playmaker, Austin was the eighth overall selection in the 2013 draft. Unfortunately, he never lived up to his draft status with the Rams.
When the announcement of his trade to Dallas was made, Austin was originally referred to as a web-back. A player whose versatility would allow him to play several different roles out of the backfield as a running back. The switching of positions for the diminutive 5-foot-8 Austin was an exciting proposition as starting running back Ezekiel Elliott desperately needed a change-of-pace running mate.
But the move to running back never materialized as the Cowboys opted to keep Austin at wide receiver. And that appeared to be the right choice as the veteran exploded for two touchdowns in his first three games for Dallas.
Unfortunately, a groin injury limited Austin to just seven games in 2018. He’d end the season recording just eight receptions for 140 yards and those two scores as former Cowboys’ offensive coordinator Scott Linehan struggled to find a place for the gadget player within his offense.
Scheduled to be a free agent this offseason, it was unknown if the Cowboys would re-sign Austin following his disappointing performance. But Dallas signed the 29-year old to a one-year, $1 million deal plus incentives back in March. If nothing else, Austin appeared to be the Cowboys’ primary punt returner in place of slot receiver Cole Beasley, who left during free agency for the Buffalo Bills.
But following the NFL draft last month, Austin’s place on the roster could be in jeopardy. Here’s what the Dallas Morning News’ John Owning wrote after he made the bold prediction that Austin will, in fact, be cut from the roster prior to the start of the regular season.
"“Given that [Tony] Pollard and [Randall] Cobb are virtual locks to make the 53-man roster, Austin’s skill set isn’t necessary, is easily replicated and his role could be easily replaced. On top of his skill set being replaceable, it’s tough to trust Austin to remain healthy at this point in his career.”"
The Dallas Cowboys struggled to find a place for Tavon Austin on the roster last season as the aging veteran struggled himself to stay healthy. Despite the Cowboys having a new offensive coordinator in Kellen Moore, the addition of a rookie with an identical skill set in 2019 fourth-round selection Tony Pollard makes getting Austin more touches problematic. With 12 receivers currently on the bloated 90-man roster, Dallas is set to make some harsh decisions this summer. And Austin could find himself being the odd man out.