Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Three Scenarios for Miles Austin

With the Jets sudden interest in Miles Austin it would seem that the Cowboys have a big decision to make in the next few days. Depending on how serious the Jets are about getting Austin on their team the Cowboys may be forced to decide exactly how much Austin is worth to the team. I see three possible scenarios playing out.

Scenario #1 - Austin Gets No Offer from the Jets
This would be the easiest scenario for the Cowboys but also probably the least likely. The Jets are going to meet with Austin and his agent and they may decide that he isn't worth a second round pick and/or the amount of money it would take to prevent the Cowboys from matching the offer. If that happens then it would be fairly certain that Miles Austin would have to tuck his tail between his legs and sign his restricted tender offer for (only?) $1.545 million. If only we all had that fallback option in our lives.

Scenario #2 - Austin Agrees to a Contract the Cowboys Won't Match
This is an entirely plausible scenario especially consider that the Jets must be pretty serious about bringing him in if they are meeting with him knowing it will cost a 2nd round pick and probably require a contract much bigger than his career numbers would justify. I think Jerry Jones will match an offer from the Jets within reason, but if the Jets are willing to grossly overpay for a guy with 18 career receptions then we might be watching him play for the Jets next season. The big question would be how much it would take for Jerry to let Miles walk. I wish I knew the answer but I doubt if he'll go much higher than the contract numbers for Patrick Crayton (4 years, $14 million).

Scenario #3 - Austin Signs a Long Term Deal to Stay with the Cowboys
I think this is obviously the most likely of all of the outcomes. The Cowboys will be in serious need of wide receiver depth if they can't get Austin re-signed. It was one thing to lose him with T.O. on the roster but his value has increased exponentially since T.O. has been cut. I hope the Cowboys can lock him up for 4 or 5 years at a reasonable salary. Again, I am looking at Patrick Crayton's contract as a reasonable amount. The plus side would be that if he really does break out this season and we get him signed to a Crayton-type deal then it would be a bargain.

The bottom line is that how this all plays out will have a huge impact on how the Cowboys approach the draft and the rest of free agency. If Miles goes to the Jets then the Cowboys will have 2 second round picks and probably enough ammunition to trade into the late first round. It would also probably move wide receiver to the top of the draft priority and/or it would put the Cowboys in the market for a free agent wide receiver. I am expecting Austin to be back but the Cowboys will still have a lot of options to fill the hole in the roster if the Jets blow the Cowboys out of the water with a big contract offer.

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