In 2009 reports surfaced that the Jets met with Dallas wide receiver Miles Austin. At the time he was a restricted free agent with little production in the NFL. The Jets balked in the end because they didn’t want to give up the 2nd round pick required to sign him. That very next season, Austin broke out with 81 receptions, 1320 yards, and 11 touchdowns.
It was reported earlier this week that Dallas is going to cut Austin, making him an unrestricted free agent. Austin is coming off an incredibly disappointing season in which he missed 5 games due to a hamstring injury. When he came back towards the end of the season, he was clearly still effected by the injury, only going over 20 receiving yards once with a high of 35 yards and zero touchdowns.
Dallas has a one of the best wide receivers in the NFL in Dez Bryant, and some good young players in Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley. The Cowboys are projected to be 20 million dollars over the 2014 salary cap. Cutting ties with Austin will save the team 5 million against the cap if he is a post June 1st cut. Austin will immediately become one of the better wide receivers in the market.
The Jets are a team in desperate need of playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. Austin has been a big play threat throughout his career in Dallas. In every year in which he has been healthy, he has 900+ receiving yards and 6+ touchdowns.He has the speed to beat the defense deep, which is something the Jets lacked this season with the injuries/disappearances of Holmes and Hill.
Austin ran a 4.47 at the combine, but has been clocked as low as 4.29. He has good measurable and is listed at 6-3, 216. One of the more underrated aspects of Austin’s game is his ability to catch the ball with his hands. Receivers that catch with their body tend to struggle with drops and don’t have the ability to bailout QB’s on poor throws. He is still only 29 so I think he has at least a few good years left once he fully recovers from his injury.
Even if we draft a receiver early, we would still be wise to bring in an experienced veteran with proven success. Due to struggles with injuries, he is likely only going to receive a short term "prove it" deal. I believe the Jets should be the team that gives it to him. It was only a few years ago that he was considered one of the best young wideouts in the league.