Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

28 Apr 2018

Rams Trade Tavon Austin to Cowboys

The Los Angeles Rams have traded gadget player Tavon Austin to the Dallas Cowboys. The Rams will receive a sixth-round pick (192nd overall) in the deal.

For the Rams, this is a straight salary dump. In 16 games last year, he was still fourth among Rams wide receivers with 317 yards from scrimmage. And after the team traded for Brandin Cooks, Austin was a long-shot to make the roster.

Dallas, meanwhile, is in desperate need of big-play ability, especially with Dez Bryant released and Jason Witten retired. In five NFL seasons, Austin has scored 12 touchdowns receiving, nine touchdowns rushing, and three touchdowns on punt returns. Average gain on those touchdowns: 32.7 yards.

Austin is guaranteed $5 million this season with incentives that could add another $3 million. Per Over The Cap, the Cowboys only had about $12 million in cap space coming into draft weekend. Austin will eat up a big chunk of that, though Dallas will also save some money with Witten retiring.

UPDATE: NFL Network's Mike Garafalo corrects the terms on Austin's contract. It's a much more friendly deal for the Cowboys.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 28 Apr 2018

16 comments, Last at 03 May 2018, 9:47pm by The Ninjalectual


by dbostedo :: Sat, 04/28/2018 - 5:10pm

Dez Austin?

by LordChozo :: Sat, 04/28/2018 - 7:28pm

Yeah, you remember him. He was that guy who played WR for the Cowboys between Miles Austin and Tavon Austin.

by dbostedo :: Sun, 04/29/2018 - 4:37pm

Oh yeah... I forgot how many Austin's there were... Didn't he catch passes from Tony Austin? And get coached by Jason Austin? And austin the austin when they austin austined?.....


by theslothook :: Sat, 04/28/2018 - 10:41pm

Man, I never understood the tavon Austin extension. What made it more strange was this was an internal decision to do it. You would think if anyone would have known Austin's true value up close, it would have been the Rams.

by jtr :: Sun, 04/29/2018 - 12:43pm

The Cowboys desperately needed help at receiver, and they traded for....the least-receiver "receiver" in the NFL. This doesn't at all fill the hole for pass-catchers left by Dez and Witten. But on the plus side, if they ever need a three yard screen pass on third and eight, they've definitely got their man.

by Independent George :: Sun, 04/29/2018 - 7:29pm

if they ever need a three yard screen pass on third and eight, they've definitely got their man.

Wait, did Brian Schottenheimer join the Cowboys' staff?

by Richie :: Mon, 04/30/2018 - 2:34pm

Huh, I'm surprised Miami didn't trade for him.

by Will Allen :: Mon, 04/30/2018 - 8:46am

Gosh, the Cowboys have their starting qb on his rookie contract, and a later round rookie contracts at that, they don't have much talent on defense, and they still are tight on cap space? Maybe most teams don't diligently invest substantial resources building an offensive line because it is expensive. Or is Romo still using up cap space?

by Guest789 :: Mon, 04/30/2018 - 9:45am

It's a bit of both I think. Romo is still sitting on their cap for about $9 million if I recall correctly.

by jtr :: Mon, 04/30/2018 - 11:43am

They're paying $9M dead money for Romo and $8M for Bryant. It looks like they actually escape Witten's retirement without any dead money, which suggests some very uncharacteristic forward thinking when it comes to a Cowboys star's contract. Somebody must have slipped an intelligent clause into the contract while Jerry was sleeping off last night's Johnny Blue.

by serutan :: Tue, 05/01/2018 - 11:21am

Well this *is* the team that not so long ago entered *every* offseason over the cap which amongst other things led to DeMarcus Ware getting a ring with Denver.
Since Stephen has (apparently) been allowed to run the day-to-day stuff, they have at least gotten themselves out from under that.
Was wr

by jtr :: Tue, 05/01/2018 - 1:11pm

And the way they would get back under the cap every offseason was to push Romo's salary a bit further down the line, which is why they're still paying him now.

by The Ninjalectual :: Mon, 04/30/2018 - 2:48pm

"Average gain on those [Tavon Austin]touchdowns: 32.7 yards."

That's interesting, but probably only useful in comparison to other special teamers with comparable usage rates. I had thought to calculate Austin's average non-return TD length (and a handful of other players for context), but that's a hell of a lot of work for something I'm doing on a whim. With Austin there are "only" 24 to look up. The first player I wanted to do was Dez Bryant and his 80-odd TDs. Yeah not going to happen.

I assume somebody else did the work on the Austin number, and it came directly from an article? Or does the FO database have the code to do this automatically?

by Vincent Verhei :: Mon, 04/30/2018 - 3:48pm

Pro Football Reference has a list of touchdowns scored by each player. Here's Dez's.


Dez's average TD (including a couple of punt returns) covered 21.7 yards.

by The Ninjalectual :: Thu, 05/03/2018 - 9:47pm

Yes, like ChrisS says that's a great tool I never knew about!

by ChrisS :: Mon, 04/30/2018 - 4:59pm

Austin non-return TD's average 25.4 yards, Dez Bryant 20.2 yards. I had never noticed the Touchdowns menu item in PFR, thanks Vince