Miles Austin has found a new home. The veteran receiver, set to be cut by the Cowboys, is headed to Cleveland to give Johnny Manziel one of the surest pairs of hands in the league, albeit with most unreliable sets of hamstrings to go with it.
Austin agreed to terms with the Browns, the team website announced Thursday. The veteran from Monmouth, who spent eight years with the Cowboys after signing as an undrafted free agent in 2006 under Bill Parcells, was designated a June 1 cut, an option that would save the Cowboys $5.5 million on the salary cap.
After the cap savings, he still counts $2.75 million in dead money for the Cowboys this year and $5.1 million in 2015, consequences of the six-year deal for $54 million he signed in 2010 after coming off the best season of his career – an 81-catch, 1,320-yard, 11-touchdown performance in a division-championship season for the Cowboys.
In Cleveland, Austin will be the most experienced of the receivers available for Manziel, the celebrated Texas A&M quarterback drafted by the Browns in the first round last week. Their top receiver (and one of the league’s), Josh Gordon, is facing a suspension, and another veteran addition, Nate Burleson, got hurt in the offseason.
But the Browns are also taking on Austin’s notorious hamstrings, which caused him to miss five games in 2011 and six games in 2013. He played in every game in 2012, but the Cowboys admitted he was not 100 percent in all of them.
Still, Austin, 29, is one of the Cowboys’ most successful undrafted free agent stories. He ranks ninth in team history with 301 catches, seventh with 4,481 yards and 10th with 34 touchdowns. He also had a kickoff return for a touchdown in a playoff game at Seattle as a rookie.
He made the Pro Bowl in 2009 and 2010.
-- Carlos Mendez