Despite the drafting of Devin Street in the fifth round and adding a handful of veterans, head coach Jason Garrett said the return of Austin is “absolutely” a possibility.
“We love Miles Austin, we really do,” Garrett said after the draft, via the team’s official website. “Obviously, drafting Devin Street (Saturday), we addressed the receiver position a little bit. But Miles has been a really good player for us.
“The economics of his situation really factored into the decision we made with him, coupled with his injuries. We’ll look at the landscape when we get done. Miles is a guy that we have great respect for as a person and as a player.”
Aside from Bryant, Terrance Williams and newly drafted Street, the team has Cole Beasley, Dwayne Harris, Tim Benford, Jamar Newsome, Chris Boyd and LaRon Byrd rounding out the depth chart. Only Bryant and Williams are proven commodities.
Austin, 29, was released to free up salary cap space. The veteran wide receiver was set to earn $5.5 million in 2014 as a part of the six-year, $54 million contract he inked back in 2010.
Austin received the big-time contract after posting back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons in 2009 and 2010. He hauled in 81 passes and 11 touchdowns during his breakout 2009 campaign, and followed it up with 69 receptions and seven touchdowns a year later.
Of course, Austin played in all 16 games both of those seasons, and has not been able to stay on the field consistently since. Austin played in 10 games in 2011, started 15 in 2012, and appeared in 11 last year.
He totaled 2,361 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns in 2009 and 2010, but has combined for 1,766 yards and 13 touchdowns since. The decline in his production has been due largely to a lingering hamstring injury.
Soon after his release in March, Austin generated little to no interest on the free-agent market. Perhaps Dallas is the one team that would be inclined to welcome him in, but presumably at a discounted rate.