The New York Jets completely revamped their offense this offseason adding a variety of weapons to all of the skill positions.
NFL Fantasy Analyst, Adam Rank recently said, “am I wrong for thinking the Jets offense could be really fun to watch this season?”
Well if he thought it was fun before, it seems like it’s about to reach another level.
Jets Worked Out Former Dynamic First Round Wideout
On Wednesday, the Jets worked out veteran free agent wide receiver Tavon Austin and it “went well” according to NFL insider Ian Rapoport.
The former first-rounder was originally taken by the then St. Louis Rams with the eighth overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft.
Remember in that draft the Jets had two first-round picks: ninth overall (their own) and the No. 13 overall selection from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (part of the Darrelle Revis trade). Also as part of that deal, the Jets received a conditional fourth-round pick in 2014.
Leading up to the draft there were a lot of rumors that suggested Gang Green was all over former West Virginia stud Tavon Austin. It was the worst kept secret leading up to the draft.
Just when it looked like Austin was going to fall right in the team’s lap with the ninth overall pick, the Rams traded up with the Buffalo Bills at No. 8 to snipe him.
If he hadn’t gone to the Rams there at eight, the Jets were expected to take Austin with the ninth overall pick. They instead pivoted to former Alabama cornerback Dee Milliner and we all know how that turned out.
How Does He Fit on the Offense?
Most recently Austin played for both the San Francisco 49ers and the Green Bay Packers in 2020.
Which is a direct tie to the Mike LaFleur (current Jets offensive coordinator) and the Matt LaFleur (older brother of Mike and current Packers head coach) offensive system.
Austin is a versatile chess piece that can line up all over the formation.
In his eight professional seasons, the former first-rounder has tallied 220 receptions for 2,026 yards to go along with 15 receiving touchdowns.
But that’s not all he can do.
Austin has also contributed 196 rushing attempts for 1,340 yards and 10 touchdowns. A big-play threat that averaged over 6.8 yards per clip.
If that doesn’t provide enough versatility for the Jets his acumen on special teams may push this potential partnership over the top.
The former Mountaineer is also a renowned return man.
He hasn’t returned any kickoffs since 2017, but his prowess in the punt return game is worth mentioning. Austin has logged 188 career punt returns for over 1,480 yards and three touchdowns. His career average is 7.9 yards per return, all stats provided by Pro Football Reference.
Last season the Jets had the third-worst punt return output in the NFL.
If the green and white added Austin to the mix at wide receiver, suddenly they’d be dealing with what the kids call a first-world problem at the position:
- Corey Davis
- Denzel Mims
- Elijah Moore
- Keelan Cole
- Jamison Crowder
That would make it 13 wide receivers on the current Jets roster. Also, the signing of Austin would immediately put Crowder’s future into question. If the team decided to move on from him, they could create $10.3 million in cap space.
We thought that initially when the Jets took Elijah Moore out of Ole Miss with the No. 34 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft, but general manager Joe Douglas shot that down.
It would be pretty hard to deny that connection if the Jets added Austin to the rotation. He could immediately plug in as a versatile swiss army knife that could be utilized with jet sweeps, wildcat, pop screens, and more.
Last season the Jets at times didn’t have enough bodies at wide receiver. It looks like now they’ll be overflowing at the position for the first time in a long time which is a good problem to have.