Rams will either trade or release Tavon Austin before March 14

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

It's simple. Austin was the second-highest paid player on the Rams' roster last season, yet he was quickly phased out of their plans in Sean McVay's first season as coach.

Tavon Austin's tenure with the Rams, once filled with optimism and potential, soon will end in disappointment, less than two years after the team signed him to a massive contract.

And with that, Austin's career with the Rams appears to be coming to an end. That contract was the only reason his fate was in any doubt, but it looks like the Rams are willing to eat the $5 million guaranteed they owe Austin in 2018. Austin was used primarily as a runner as he rushed 59 times for 270 yards.

This past season, Austin started 9-of-16 games, but he managed just 13 catches and 47 yards through the air.

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He was eventually replaced by Pharoh Cooper as the team's return man, as well. His best year was in 2015, when he had 907 total yards from scrimmage and nine touchdowns (five receiving, four rushing).

Austin flashed elite speed with a 4.34 40-yard dash at the 2013 NFL Combine.

But the fact remains that Austin never lived up to the billing. Unfortunately for the team, it's highly unlikely any other squad is going to trade for Austin, paying him $8 million against the cap next season.

What's next for the Rams?

.

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