Austin was set to carry a cap number of $8 million into 2018 — more than $6 million less than last season’s figure, per Over The Cap — but will instead redo his deal to preserve his standing with the Rams after his worst statistical season of his career.
The 2017 dropoff wasn’t all Austin’s doing. Rams GM Les Snead went out in the 2017 offseason and signed Robert Woods, drafted Cooper Kupp and then made an August trade for Watkins, creating a rather crowded position group that was incredibly thin just a year prior with Austin, Kenny Britt and Brian Quick. As a result, Austin’s chances were dramatically reduced as Sean McVay tried to find other ways to use his elite-level speed, evidenced by his spike in rushing attempts.
I am saddened to hear about Tom’s passing. Tom cared deeply about the game of football, the city of New Orleans and its fanbase. My thoughts and condolences are with his wife Gayle and the entire Saints organization during this difficult time.
Tom was a pillar of the National Football League for over 30 years and a champion of his beloved New Orleans his entire life. His impact on that community, the Saints franchise and our league will live on for years to come. On behalf of my family and the entire Atlanta Falcons organization, I extend our condolences to Tom’s wife Gayle, his family and many friends. Our teams have been fierce competitors on the field, but I will remember and be forever grateful for the respect and friendship we have shared over the years.
WR Taylor Gabriel, Bears Grade: C I would not peg the 2016 Browns as bastions of talent evaluation, but when Cleveland cut Gabriel in 2016, half of the league’s teams — including Ryan Pace’s Chicago Bears — passed on adding Gabriel as a waiver claim before the Falcons added him.
Gabriel had an anonymous few weeks with the Falcons and suffered a concussion, but he suddenly turned into a big-play machine when he came back.
Gabriel scored six times in nine games, including four touchdowns of 35 yards or more.
It seemed likely Gabriel would regress toward the mean, and that’s what happened.
The guy who scored just one touchdown in two seasons with the Browns scored one in 16 games with the Falcons.
The 27-year-old Gabriel averaged a modest 11.5 yards per catch, with just two plays of 35 yards or more all season, let alone touchdowns.
In 2016, Gabriel caught 7 of the 13 deep passes (traveling 16-plus yards in the air) Matt Ryan threw to him.