Jeff Fisher: Tavon Austin was paid based on “anticipation of what he’s going to do”

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The Rams on Saturday gave receiver Tavon Austin a four-year extension with a new-money average of $10.5 million. The move has prompted some to question the decision, based on Austin’s performance during the first three years of his career.

On Sunday, coach Jeff Fisher explained that Austin’s compensation is aimed at not the past but the future.

“It’s our anticipation of what he’s going to do,” Fisher told reporters. “We’ve seen what he’s capable of and we’re hoping we’re going to get a lot more than what we’ve seen in the past. I know people are putting out numbers and things like that, but they forget three or four punt returns that were returned for touchdowns that were called back. He’s very, very talented with the ball in his hands. He is a problem to defend against and we hear that week after week after week. I was speaking with [Broncos defensive coorindator] Wade [Phillips] before the game and [he was saying], ‘This guy is really good.’ It was obvious, the way they defended us, they knew we weren’t going to give him the ball, so they just kind of disregarded where he was, but things change here in a couple weeks. I’m just really happy for Tavon. He’s a great team guy, full of energy and he’s got a God-given talent that’s going to carry us a long way.”

Regardless of any punt returns that were called back due to penalties, Austin’s numbers on offense have been limited by a lack of talent around him, specifically at the quarterback position. If the team had a true downfield passing threat, it would be easier to create opportunities to get Austin the ball in space at or near the line of scrimmage, allowing him to make people miss and gain lots of yards.

And so the ability to get a full return on the team’s investment in Austin won’t depend solely on how Austin plays, but how others play around him — starting with the quarterback position but also taking into consideration the offensive line, running back Todd Gurley, and a collection of fellow receivers whom Terrell Owens regards as no-names.

10 responses to “Jeff Fisher: Tavon Austin was paid based on “anticipation of what he’s going to do”

  1. Fisher went on to add “If he fails to live up to our expectations and the new contract then he pinky swore he would give some of the money back. And, as everyone knows, there is no bond stronger than a pinky swear.”

  2. I struggle to see Austin being a top 20 WR in the game. Nice gadget player and returner, but you don’t pay those types that much money.

  3. I wonder if the same applies to Fisher. How much would he make if the Rams paid him on anticipation of his ability to lead a team to a winning record? 20M per year?

  4. Considering this is a Jeff Fisher offense, I would guess that means they expect him to post a lot of 8 yard receptions on 3rd and 10.

  5. Can you imagine what the contract would have been for Flipper Anderson the season after of his 336 yard receiving game (for the Rams)? It probably would have been the first billion dollar contract if these guys were in control back then.

  6. If the idea is that you’re going to pay him because you “anticipate” performance, why not make an offer that’s performance based, as opposed to guaranteed cash?

    Or is your talk all just smoke, Fish?

    .500

  7. I donno man, you see this type of contract a lot in baseball. If he has a great year this year his extension would wind up costing the rams more or they see him walk after next year. Yeah it’s a lot of granola for a guys potential, but I don’t think it’s as crazy as some people think it is. If he does perform up to/exceeding his pay (you can doubt all you want, but there’s at least a chance it happens) then nobody is going to bash it.

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