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Veterans on the bubble: ESPN predicts the Cowboys receiver room getting smaller

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Could Tavon Austin be the odd man out among the receivers?

Wild Card Round - Seattle Seahawks v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

There are roster decisions every year that people agonize over. How are you possibly going to carry so many at one position group? Are you really willing to sacrifice player A for player B? Training camp helps us answer some of these questions, but it’s still a difficult process.

We’re about six weeks away from things getting going in Oxnard and the reality is that there are going to be cuts a few weeks after that that many didn’t (and did) expect. One of the more shocking cuts the Cowboys have made in recent history was kicker Dan Bailey last year (a move they were proven right on); what veterans could be on the wrong side of decisions this year?

ESPN put together a prediction on Monday where they chose a veteran candidate from each team to be out of work. While there are many who would suggest a defensive lineman for the Cowboys, the answer assigned to America’s Team was actually a wide receiver: Tavon Austin.

He re-signed with the Cowboys on a one-year deal that included just $500,000 guaranteed and was limited during organized team activities and minicamp because of a hamstring strain. Austin caught eight passes for 140 yards and two touchdowns last year but played in just seven games because of a groin injury. The Cowboys added Randall Cobb in free agency to handle the slot. They drafted running back Tony Pollard to be the change-of-pace back and potential returner. That doesn’t leave a lot of room for Austin to make a mark. He can be a game-changer with his speed, but he has to stay healthy. -- Todd Archer

When we talked about how many roster spots were “truly” available we included Austin and were met with a lot of eye rolls. I’m not, and wasn’t then, arguing that Austin is more valuable than certain receivers on the roster, but he’s a leader on this team. The team that just so happens to be coached by someone who loves leadership in Jason Garrett.

In what ways is Austin a leader? He’s among the more veteran players on a young team for starters, but he’s also among their leadership council group. When select members traveled to Durham, NC this offseason he was among them. Let me be clear, I’m not saying simply because Austin went on a trip with some of his teammates that his roster spot is locked in, but he shouldn’t be so casually dismissed.

The receiver room is a very crowded one, one that got that way rather quickly, in Dallas. Austin is far behind players like Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and Randall Cobb in terms of what he can contribute on the field, but whether or not he outweighs the prospect of guys like Lance Lenoir, Cedrick Wilson, Allen Hurns, or any of this year’s UDFAs, remains to be seen.

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Will Tavon Austin make the team?

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