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The Pros and Cons of the Cowboys re-signing Tavon Austin

The Cowboys brought back the speedy receiver, but was it a good move?

Divisional Round - Dallas Cowboys v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

As free agency slows down (although the Cowboys still have a few irons in the fire), we’re going to take a look back at their signings and evaluate the good and the bad of each. Today we examine the Cowboys re-signing Tavon Austin.

Context

It was during the draft last year when the Cowboys sent a sixth-round draft pick to the Los Angeles Rams for the services of Tavon Austin. The Cowboys were in the midst of rebuilding their receiver corps after parting ways with Dez Bryant. They had signed Deonte Thompson and Allen Hurns in free agency and had added Michael Gallup through the draft. Although Austin was categorized as a wide receiver, he had done a lot of running the ball in his career, too.

The Cowboys envisioned him more as a “web back” who could line up in the backfield as well as at receiver, filling the “Lance Dunbar role” as a change of pace, shifty running back/receiver. This never really came to pass. Scott Linehan seemed unable or unwilling to utilize Austin as anything other than a receiver besides the occasional jet sweep. Besides catching a long touchdown against the Giants, Austin had minimal impact during the regular season. Injury robbed him of much of the season, but he did impact the punt return game in the playoffs.

The deal

Austin was re-signed to a one-year deal with a salary cap hit of $1.328 million. He was guaranteed $500,000. There are incentives that can raise the value of the deal to $1.75 million. (Spotrac.com)

Pros

  • The contract is cheap for a player with a special skill - speed.
  • If nothing else, Austin can certainly help with the return game.
  • With Cole Beasley gone, Austin can take a few reps in the slot although that is not really his skill set.
  • New OC Kellen Moore may figure out how to properly utilize Austin’s talents.
  • Austin can act as a change-of-pace, third-down back who is dangerous with the ball in his hands.

Cons

  • Coming off injury and aging, will his speed weapon start to erode?
  • Has a history of fumbling although it didn’t show up last year.
  • Tantalizes with his speed, but has never lived up to his reputation and draft position.
  • Doesn’t have a true position that keeps him on the field on a regular basis.

So what’s your call BTB? How do you feel about the signing of Tavon Austin? Vote in the poll and hit the comments.

Poll

What grade would you give the signing of Tavon Austin?

This poll is closed

  • 22%
    A - At that price and with his speed, awesome deal.
    (560 votes)
  • 54%
    B - If the Cowboys utilize him right, he will contribute.
    (1394 votes)
  • 14%
    C - Eh, as a punt returner it’s fine.
    (365 votes)
  • 5%
    D - He tantalizes but doesn’t really produce.
    (130 votes)
  • 3%
    F - Just throwing away money that could have been spent on a bigger free agent.
    (86 votes)
2535 votes total Vote Now

Previous Pros & Cons

Jason Witten