Rams already owe Tavon Austin $5 million for 2018

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As the annual lists of veterans with bloated contracts that could be terminated are compiled, one player presents an intriguing dilemma to his current team.

Rams receiver Tavon Austin, widely regarded as being on the outs, has a contract that already guarantees him $5 million this year, in the form of a roster bonus that will be earned on March 16. If he’s still on the roster that day, his $3 million base salary becomes fully guaranteed, too.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, both components of Austin’s 2018 pay include offsets, meaning that if, for example, he’d get cut before the salary vests, his $5 million roster bonus would be reduced by what he earns elsewhere.

So what would he earn elsewhere? And what impact could he have on another team? Those are questions the Rams need to ask before making a final decision on his status for 2018. Ultimately, they could end up paying him $4 million to play for a competitor ($5 million minus $1 million he’d get from another team), when they could pay him $8 million and continue to try to find ways to use him.

Last year, a wrist problem caused Austin to miss plenty of time in the offseason, and he never quite found his footing. The possibility that Sean McVay and company could devise ways to use Austin effectively in 2018 (especially with so many other potent weapons on offense) should make the Rams at least consider the wisdom of spending $8 million to keep him versus paying $4 million or so to see him end up playing for a team like the Seahawks, where former Rams offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer is now designing the plays.

In the end, it’s still likely that Austin will be gone. But it’s not quite the no-brainer it would seem to be.

13 responses to “Rams already owe Tavon Austin $5 million for 2018

  1. He never quite lived up to that swiss army knife player he was in college, but then again most of his tenure in the NFL was under Jeff Fisher aka the offense killer.

  2. Sure it is.

    Keep him:
    Pay 8 million off the cap for an unusable weapon

    Cut him:
    Pay him 4 million off the cap for another team have have an unusable weapon.

    Pay 8 dollars for poop, or pay 4 dollars to someone else to take the poop away. Even if they use it as fertilizer, your locker room smells better.

  3. The Saints will take him for $1 mil.

    He can still blow the top off a defense with speed. Which means wide open underneaths for Michael Thomas, or open deep route for Ginn. Or, they don’t stay with Tavon and the deep bomb goes for a TD.

  4. If her goes to the right team AND can stay healthy he can be productive. Playing in a Jeff Fisher offense can derail any player (see Gurley’s last year under Fisher)! He can also return punts.

  5. Tavon Austin is just yet another proof of documentation that in football your skillset can only go as far as the coach utilizes it. Or in other words, just play basketball or soccer, if you’re an athlete and want more control over your career.

  6. He’s from Baltimore and the Ravens desperately need receivers. It would make sense for the Ravens to take a flyer on him, especially if the Rams will be paying a good portion of his salary.

  7. The guy has talent and tons of potential; I think it is very obvious that Austin hasn’t been in a position to display either. As many have, correctly, pointed out Jeff Fisher is a big part of this. McVay had no interest in Austin last year so that is a “mulligan.”

    If Austin lands with a team that passes to set-up the run, or runs the no huddle.. Saints or Patriots, for example.. he will shine.

  8. He’s the type of guy who needs a big #1 receiver to take the attention of the defense so he’s free to work 1 on 1 in the slot. Until this year, the Rams never had that #1 guy. They had better weapons this year, but Goff, for whatever reason, looked more comfortable with the other guys

    Will be interesting to see, there will be teams lined up out the door if they can sign him for $1 mil (and unless someone is giving him over the 5 mil, he may as well sign for league minimum, all the same to him). All things considered, unless are up against it (and I don’t think they are), I’d eat one more year with him and see if you can get him to become that weapon you envisioned in the first place.

    But they see him every day, and if they feel Krupp has that slot position locked up, and he doesn’t translate to the outside every down, they may decide to just be done with it. It’s not like that coaching staff has any loyalty to him

  9. Arizona should look at signing him as a #3/#4 wide-receiver giving them another speedster besides 5″11 JJ Nelson with Nelson running a 4.27 & Austin a 4.31 40. In 2016 Austin had 58 rec’s/509YDs n 3TDs, last year he just wasnt used in the passing game really at all though he did rush for 270YDs/AVG 4.7YPC. Austin would be worth the roll of a dice @ at around 1 maybe 2 million per year, he could be really good both in the slot and running go routes on the outside opening up the middle of the field for Fitzgerald & All-Pro RB/WR David Johnson.
    Austin would also give you a very very good Kick-Returner with his ability in the run game, giving you both a #3 caliber WR & KR for almost nothing. AZ also has 5″11/200pd RB/WR TJ Logan possesing elite 4.35spd they are very high on, who looked to be extremely good as both a runner & receiver with elite hands (dropped 1 pass in 3yrs in college) before breaking his wrist, he was slicing defenses up. Logan to excels as both a Kick and Punt returner, those two together would greatly upgrade AZ’s ST’s.

  10. Tavon hasn’t worked out. He can run some, but it doesn’t seem like he can catch very well and fumbles too much. If the Rams can better use the money they save by cutting Tavon loose, then they should. This thing about salary cap space isn’t just for this year, it’s for next year too. Cut him now and the team saves even more money for next year.

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