LA Rams: Trading Tavon Austin is huge for one reason

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 08: Tavon Austin (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 08: Tavon Austin (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

The LA Rams traded Tavon Austin during the 2018 NFL Draft to the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for a sixth-round pick.

Tavon Austin was selected with the eighth overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. Now, five years later, the product of West Virginia was traded to the Dallas Cowboys by the LA Rams for a sixth-round pick.

Austin’s NFL career is at a bit of a fork in the road. After failing to live up to expectations as a slot man in the NFL, the Rams made the move to convert Austin into a Ty Montgomery style running back. That did not yield crazy results, as Austin had just 270 rushing yards and 47 receiving yards.

The Dallas Cowboys need receivers, it is arguably the thinnest position on the entire roster. With Jason Witten retiring, the Cowboys’ passing game could turn into one of the worst in the NFL. Trading for Austin makes sense to help aid those efforts, although it is unclear how the Cowboys plan to use Austin in the future.

For such a small price, though, it made sense for the Cowboys to make this move; especially after the team drafted just one receiver in the first four rounds.

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For the LA Rams, some fans may feel as if this trade package was robbery. Although Austin did have a minimal role in this new-look offense, trading a former first-round pick for a sixth-round pick — when the team already had six sixth-round picks — seemed unconventional.

The reasoning though is obvious. Not only was Austin going to struggle to make the 53-man roster, trading him creates an even more impactful hole. Los Angeles made room in the salary cap for Aaron Donald; the best defensive player in football.

Austin did restructure his contract so the savings here are not as significant as they would have been prior. Austin has a $3 million cap hit with the potential to earn another $5 million in incentives throughout the year. Again, this is a small clearance, but a clearance of cap space nonetheless.

With all the new rookies coming on the roster the LA Rams are going to have to free up as much cap space as possible. If the team does not pony up and pay Aaron Donald, they risk losing a once in a generational talent.

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This trade at least gives the LA Rams more flexibility to pay Donald. It is not about the sixth-round pick at all. As much as promise as Tavon Austin once had, it was time to part ways.