FRISCO, Texas – Two days after Cole Beasley reached a free-agent deal with the Buffalo Bills, the Cowboys have maintained depth at slot receiver by agreeing to a one-year contract with Tavon Austin.
Austin also had an expiring deal following his first season with the Cowboys. He appeared in seven games in 2018, catching 8 passes for 140 yards, and split punt returns with Beasley. He missed nine games with a groin injury but returned in the playoffs, where he had a 51-yard punt return against the Seahawks and nearly had another big play, a 75-yard return called back because of a penalty.
Austin originally joined Dallas in a draft-day deal with the Rams last spring. He scored two touchdowns in his first three games, including a 64-yard reception from Dak Prescott in Week 2 against the Giants. The next week, he caught a shovel pass from Prescott in Seattle for a 3-yard touchdown. Two weeks later in Houston, he caught a 44-yard pass and had a 22-yard punt return.
But against the Jaguars on Oct. 14, Austin suffered the groin injury that would sideline him the rest of the regular season.
With Kellen Moore the new offensive coordinator, it’ll be interesting to see just where Austin fits as a dynamic weapon. When he arrived last year, the Cowboys phrased Austin as a “web back” who could also line up in the backfield and get occasional carries. However, he only had six rushes last year for 55 yards. In the five years prior to the Cowboys, Austin had 184 rushing attempts.
A former first-round pick of the Rams (eighth overall) in 2013, Austin’s career with St. Louis/Los Angeles didn’t live up to the lofty expectations that come with being a top-10 pick. He did have a 98-yard punt return as a rookie in 2013. Overall, Austin now has 26 touchdowns (14 receiving, 9 rushing, 3 on punt returns).
He re-joins a receiving group that features Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup, along with Allen Hurns, Noah Brown and Lance Lenoir and Cedrick Wilson.
The Cowboys also agreed to terms on a one-year deal with free-agent defensive lineman Christian Covington Thursday.