Cowboys sign free agent tackle Marvin Austin to bolster D-line
The 6-foot-2, 312-pound Austin was released by the Miami Dolphins less than a week ago after playing in two games and making one tackle for the team this season. He also played eight career games for the New York Giants, who originally selected him out of North Carolina in the second-round of the 2011 NFL Draft.
The Cowboys liked what they saw in Austin coming out of the draft, but since the team was operating under the 3-4 scheme at the time, he was not seen as a good fit on the defense.
“He’s one of those guys we kept our eye on,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “Obviously our situation on the defensive line we’ve had a lot of different injuries up there, so you look at the landscape of personnel and see you who can bring in and try to help your football team.”
“He was playing with Miami just a couple of weeks ago. They released him. He’s in pretty decent shape because he’s been in training camp and been playing,” Garret continued. “We’d like to tap into some of that ability that caused him to be such a high draft pick.”
However, Austin has struggled to stay on the field so far during his career, first missing his rookie season due to torn pectoral muscle and playing just eight the following season while collecting five tackles, until his health issues led him getting released by the Giants in the final cuts this year. Austin also sat out senior year at North Carolina after being suspended from the Tar Heels for receiving improper benefits.
But the Cowboys have experienced a turbulent time up front ever since the offseason, with four-time Pro Bowl tackle Jay Ratliff never seeing the field this season and defensive end Antony Spencer ending up on the injured reserve after knee surgery. DeMarcus Ware also missed his first game this season after being ruled inactive against the Eagles last week with a short term injury.
During the first seven games this season, 14 different defensive lineman have suited up for the Cowboys. Currently the team carries 10 defensive linemen on their 53-man roster. Austin is the third defensive lineman off the streets to be added to that roster since Week 4. The Cowboys signed Drake Nevis on September 24 and added Jarius Wynn in Week 7, so that he was active for Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles. The team also promoted Jason Vega off the practice squad to make his NFL debut last week with Ware ailing.