FRISCO, Texas — The Dallas Cowboys lost Cole Beasley to the Buffalo Bills as free agency opened, but on Thursday they agreed to a one-year deal to keep Tavon Austin, who could help offset some of the production lost at the slot receiver position.
Austin’s first season with the Cowboys did not go as planned, in part because of a groin injury that caused him to miss nine games.
He tweeted after the Cowboys announced the deal:
— Tavon Austin (@Tayaustin01) March 14, 2019
The Cowboys acquired Austin from the Los Angeles Rams during the 2018 draft for a sixth-round pick with the hopes he could fill a role at receiver, running back and in the return game. With new coordinator Kellen Moore, Austin’s flexibility could lead to a more varied attack.
Austin, the eighth overall pick in 2013, finished the year with eight catches for 140 yards and two touchdowns, marking a second consecutive season in which his statistics fell off. He caught just 13 passes for 47 yards in 2017 with the Rams, while carrying the ball 59 times for 270 yards and a touchdown.
He had six carries for 55 yards for the Cowboys.
By the time he returned from the groin injury, the Cowboys had found a groove with the addition of Amari Cooper, the growth of Michael Gallup and the steady play of Beasley, which made it difficult for Austin to see action.
In the Cowboys’ wild-card victory against the Seattle Seahawks, he had an 80-yard punt return for a touchdown called back because of a dubious penalty and added a 51-yard punt return. He caught two passes for 5 yards and had one carry for minus-3 yards in their two playoff games.
For his career, Austin has 202 catches for 1,829 yards and 190 carries for 1,293 yards. He has touchdowns as a receiver (14), rusher (nine) and returner (three).