Tavon Austin is back in the NFC West as the San Francisco 49ers plan to sign the former first-round pick as well as wide receiver J.J. Nelson, per ESPN's Adam Schefter. Austin worked out with the 49ers earlier this week as the team saw enough in the session to get him off the unemployment line.
Austin spent the past two seasons with the Dallas Cowboys after coming over in a trade from the Los Angeles Rams, but wasn't much of the speed threat Dallas envisioned. He finished with 21 catches for 317 yards and three touchdowns in 21 games, missing nine games in 2018 with a groin tear and two games in 2019 with a concussion. The No. 8 overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft, Austin recorded 215 catches for 2,006 yards and 15 touchdowns in seven seasons.
Nelson played just two games in the 2019 season with the Las Vegas Raiders, but was one of the league's top downfield threats in his first three years with the Arizona Cardinals. He averaged 18.5 yards per catch on 74 catches with eight touchdowns from 2015 to 2017, but only has 11 catches over the last two seasons. In Nelson's rookie season (2015), he averaged an astounding 27.2 yards per catch (11 receptions).
The 49ers clearly sought to add more speed to their wide receiver unit with the signings of Austin and Nelson, as the team had three running backs that ran a sub-4.4 40-yard dash last season -- and five skill players overall ran a sub-4.5. This offseason, the 49ers added Brandon Aiyuk (4.5) in the draft, but lost Matt Breida (4.38) in a trade and Emmanuel Sanders (4.41) in free agency.
Austin and Nelson will both have an opportunity to make the roster at wide receiver, a unit that has Aiyuk, Deebo Samuel, Jalen Hurd and Kendrick Bourne as locks to make the team at this stage in camp.