3 Free agent return specialists Browns can add ahead of Week 1

Tavon Austin. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Tavon Austin. (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images) /
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Tavon Austin. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports /

2. Tavon Austin

At 32 years of age, Tavon Austin is closer to the end of his career than the beginning but that doesn’t mean he can’t still contribute as a returner.

Used primarily on punt returns, Austin has 1,483 career yards and three touchdowns in that department. He has 25 kick returns, so he could do that if needed but would primarily be there to help a team gain better field position after a defensive stop.

A former top-10 pick, Austin started his career with the St. Louis Rams in 2013 and spent the next five seasons with the franchise, even moving to Los Angeles with them in 2016. He was traded to the Dallas Cowboys in 2018 and spent two seasons there. He had a few solid runbacks for the Cowboys, but had his lone touchdown called back due to a penalty.

He also averaged nearly 15-yards per return in 2019 when the Cowboys made the playoffs. While he hasn’t been as explosive as of late, he’s also only had five returns since leaving Dallas.

Austin was hoping to prove to the Bills this season that he could return to form, but he was unable to make the 53-man roster. Of course, Isaiah McKenzie is already in Buffalo, so it was a long shot he was making it there anyway.

For Cleveland, he could provide someone who has plenty of experience running kicks back and might help the offense get better field position, which would be huge as they spend the first 11 games without Deshaun Watson.