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Tavon Austin Signs Four-Year Extension with Rams

It’s taken him a little while to get going, but offensive wildcard Tavon Austin has done enough to earn himself a monster extension with the Los Angeles Rams. The diminutive receiver has signed a four-year, $42 million contract extension that includes $30 million in guaranteed money and incentives that could bring the deal’s total value over $50 million.

A highly coveted first-round pick in the forgettable 2013 draft, Austin boasted elite speed and elusiveness on a team desperate for some offensive firepower. At first, it seemed like his size wouldn’t translate to the pro level, with Austin failing to get himself noticed in the Rams’ offense despite myriad attempts to get the ball in his hands.

That trend began to wane following a career year in 2015. Austin continued to post pedestrian numbers in the receiving game, yet still reached career highs in catches (52), receiving yards (473) and touchdowns (5). But Tavon earned his money in the running game, racking up over 400 rushing yards on just 52 carries, plus another 4 touchdowns for good measure.

So, where does that place the freshly paid Austin entering 2016? 100 touches a year should be the absolute performance floor for a man of Austin’s skillset. His pure speed will continue to be a threat on the occasional sweep or reverse, but he’ll need to pump up those pass catching numbers if he wants to be the Rams’ undisputed go-to guy.

Amongst a depth chart that isn’t exactly flushed with proven talent, Austin should have little trouble beating out Brian Quick and Kenny Britt for the lion’s share of catches this season, no matter who his quarterback will be.

The money has been dealt, and the Rams can rest easy knowing Tavon will be off the market through the prime of his career. Now is the time to justify that raise and take that next step in restoring the fun to LA football.

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