Bills add experience, depth by signing receiver Tavon Austin

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The Buffalo Bills have added experienced depth to an already crowded receiver group by signing Tavon Austin to a one-year contract.

The Bills made the signing official by announcing it Friday, a day after Austin first revealed the move by posting a message on social media.

Austin was an unrestricted free agent after appearing in seven games last season with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He had 24 catches for 213 yards and a touchdown. He missed the start of last season because of a groin injury.

He has nine seasons of NFL experience and failed to play up to expectations after being selected with the No. 8 pick in the 2013 draft by the then-St. Louis Rams. Austin was an all-purpose threat as a receiver, runner and returner at West Virginia, and had an Orange Bowl-record four TDs receiving in a 70-33 win over Clemson in 2012.

The Bills become Austin’s fifth team in five years, and he has appeared in just 17 games over the past two seasons.

Austin spent his first five seasons with the Rams, where he had 194 catches for 1,689 yards and 12 TDs. His other stops included a two-year stint in Dallas and splitting the 2020 season between San Francisco, where he failed to play a game because of an injury, and Green Bay, where he appeared in just four games.

Overall, he has 244 catches for 2,239 yards, with 199 carries for 1,361 yards and 29 touchdowns, including three returning punts, in 113 career games.

Austin joins a team already deep at the receiver position, with Stefon Diggs and Gabriel Davis already pegged as starters. Returning veteran Isaiah McKenzie and offseason free-agent addition Jamison Crowder are competing for the slot receiver role, while Buffalo used a fifth-round draft pick to select Khalil Shakir.

The Rams drafted Austin by moving up eight spots in the order as part of a trade with Buffalo, in which the teams exchanged six picks. The Bills used the Rams’ first-round pick to select quarterback EJ Manuel and their second-round pick to choose linebacker Kiko Alonso.

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