Cowboys expected to make Miles Austin a cap casualty
Obviously, that means that some big names are going to be kicked to the curb by Dallas, and one of those big names is likely to be wide receiver Miles Austin. An undrafted free agent out of Monmouth University, it was a great story when Austin broke out in 2009 with 81 catches for 1,320 yards and 11 touchdowns. Unfortunately, each of those numbers still stands as a career high, and it was one of just two years in which Austin topped the thousand-yard mark. Diminished explosiveness brought out by frequent injuries has caused a downward spiral for Austin, who posted just 24 catches for 244 yards and no touchdowns this season - each of which is his lowest mark since becoming a starter.
On the heels of Austin's breakout campaign (which has proven to be an outlier), Jerry Jones handed him a big deal worth $57 million over seven years. Releasing the washed up pass catcher would save the Cowboys $5.5 million against the cap in 2014, and though they would have to eat $5 million in dead money in 2015, they still seem poised to pull the trigger and cut Austin. The move, however, is not expected to be done until June.
Austin's remaining salaries on his current deal are $5.5 million next season, $6.888 million in 2015, and $11.38 million in 2016 - he is not worth any of those salaries.
If released, the final play of Austin's career in Dallas will have been a ball thrown his way by Kyle Orton that was picked off, clinching a playoff berth for the Philadelphia Eagles and eliminating the Cowboys from the postseason. In Austin's (likely) final Cowboys campaign, quarterbacks had a 49.5 passer rating when throwing his way, good for 164th in the league.
Despite the production in his past and being just 29 years old, no teams will rush to Austin on the open market. He would likely have to sign a short-term deal (quite possibly for one year) and prove that he can be healthy and productive before anyone gives him a significant contract.