The Dallas Cowboys could have an opportunity to add a familiar face after the Buffalo Bills released speedy playmaker Tavon Austin. The veteran wideout spent last season with the Jacksonville Jaguars before signing with the Bills in June.
Austin posted 24 receptions for 213 yards and a touchdown in 13 appearances for Jacksonville in 2021. Before that, he played two seasons (2018 and 2019) with the Cowboys before joining the Packers in 2020.
Austin had been a highly touted addition to the Cowboys offense but struggled to perform up to the high expectations. He notched 13 receptions for 177 yards and one touchdown in his 14 appearances during his final Cowboys season in 2019.
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Jerry Jones Once Compared Tavon Austin to Michael Irvin
The Cowboys did not help matters as the team played a role in creating these lofty expectations for Austin. During an August 2018 interview with The Dallas Morning News, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones compared Austin to legendary receiver Michael Irvin.
“I like the energy that No. 10 is bringing,” Jones said at the time. “That’s inordinate because just by the nature of how we got him here and his pedigree, for him to bring along that really, it’s Michael Irvin-ish as far as the energy that he brings. I know the guys appreciate him.”
Could the Cowboys Bring Back Austin?
The news of Austin’s release is intriguing from a Cowboys perspective given the team’s lack of depth at receiver. The Dallas wideouts who are recovering from injuries include CeeDee Lamb, Michael Gallup and James Washington. Would the Cowboys consider making another run at Austin now that he is available?
Despite the team’s pressing need at the position, there is little evidence in recent years that Austin would be an upgrade for Dallas. Austin is one of the fastest NFL receivers notching a time of 4.34 seconds in the 40-yard dash during the 2013 NFL combine but this speed has not necessarily led to production.
The emergence of KaVontae Turpin likely means the Cowboys will pass on a reunion with Austin. Turpin made his presence felt with two return touchdowns during the Cowboys’ win over the Chargers.
All signs point to Turpin making a major impact on special teams, but his role as a receiver remains less certain. After joining the Cowboys, the USFL MVP emphasized that he also wants to be viewed as a “true receiver.” If Turpin keeps making plays with the ball in his hands, the Dallas coaching staff is going to find it challenging to keep the receiver off the field.
“Yeah, a return man, that’s what I do, I’m a specialty guy,” Turpin explained during a July 28 press conference. “So, I’m just here to prove [to] everybody that I’m a true receiver. [On] special teams, that’s just what I do. I can wake up and do that, so I’m just here to prove everybody that I’m a receiver now.”
If the Cowboys are looking to bring back a former receiver, Cole Beasley would make a lot more sense given his longtime success in the slot. Beasley recently took to Twitter to campaign for a reunion with Dak Prescott, but time will tell if Dallas will make a move before Week 1.