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Cincinnati Bengals: Exploring A Tavon Austin Trade

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In a recent article named “Wide Receiver Trade Options“, Dustin issued an intriguing trade. Sending long time Bengals CB Leon Hall to the St. Louis Rams in exchange for Wide Receiver Tavon Austin. On the surface of the trade it seems like a must have, but lets dive into it a little more to see if Bengal nation would really want this deal done.

First ,lets take a look of what Leon Hall is actually worth to the Bengals. Ever since he first came into the league out of Michigan in 2007, he has been quietly one the top corners in the league. He has never been given the recognition he deserves, all because he plays in Cincinnati, which is a small media market and a power running division to add to it.

Oct 12, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Leon Hall (29) during the first half at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Leon Hall has been Cincinnati’s number one corner sense Johnathan Joseph left for Houston. He has not only been one of the leaders of the defense and team, but he is also one of the most versatile players for the Bengals. Hall can match up against smaller quick wide receivers in the slot, or he can go on the outside and cover the bigger and stronger wide outs. There has also been reports that Hall may swing to the back and play safety in some cases.

Leon Hall is a big time player for Cincinnati and as a fan, I would hate to see him in any other uniform, but as a GM I would completely understand it. Leon Hall has had two major Achilles injuries. Although he has shown he can bounce back from these two injuries, the risk of doing it again has increased. It does not help the fact that Hall will turn 31 during the season.

Despite the injuries and the age Hall has been a very good player, but the reason why this trade would make the most sense, is because Cincinnati has a plethora of contracts expiring at the conclusion of this season. These contracts include big time names such as Leon Hall and A.J. Green who will demand a big deal.

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Finally, with the talent Cincinnati has in its youth in Dre Kirkpatrick, Darqeuze Dennard and Josh Shaw, the future is already in place. Therefore, paying an aging CB that also has had two big injuries 8 million dollars this season is a lot especially when we have so much talent in the youth.

For those who think that Josh Shaw may not be able to play at a high level in being a rookie in Paul Guenther’s defense, lets remember that we still have Adam Jones who is a quality corner. Josh Shaw wouldn’t be ask to contribute more than in a dime defense.

On the other hand, if the Rams were going to get Leon Hall they would not be trading for a liability. Leon Hall can still play and maybe where he has lost step from his injuries he is still better than the average corner. Leon Hall in a Rams uniform would allow him to once again be the best corner on the team. Although Janoris Jenkins is there on the other side, Leon Hall is just that good.

For the Rams to have Hall on one side and Jenkins on the other, the defense has filled maybe one of their only holes on that side of the ball. The Rams could then focus on the offensive side, which serves as their biggest weakness. Obtaining Nick Foles from the Eagles will do a lot to help the offense, but Foles won’t have any one to throw to.

Regardless,  Tavon Austin is on the roster in St. Louis, and the Rams do not use Austin correctly. Austin is a “X factor” and a slot receiver, not a number one option. Last season, Tavon Austin only accounted for 31 receptions for 242 yards and no touchdowns on the year.

The Rams need more out of their former first round pick, but Austin cannot give them much more due to the offense they run. Now, if Austin is in Cincinnati with a great offense line, better than average QB play, although inconsistent, one of the top running back duos in the league, number one target in AJ Green, but no true slot receiver.

Tavon Austin is still young at only 26, and is a proven playmaker, when he actually gets a chance to get the ball and putting him in this Hue Jackson offense would be scary. Just pairing him with AJ Green would be scary. AJ would demand double coverage, Marvin Jones can beat one on one coverage easily, there is Giovani Bernard out of the backfield, plus Tyler Eifert up the seem, whose left for Austin?

I would love Austin in this offense. Cincinnati is in dire need for a slot receiver and a returner and Austin can do both. Losing Leon Hall for Tavon Austin, we as fans won’t like the move initially, but we would bring in a Mario Alford clone and I believe in the long run it would help out Andy Dalton and this offense dramatically. Lets not forget that AJ Green, Marvin Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Denarious Moore, Greg Little and Brandon Tate will all be free agents after this season.

If anything Tavon Austin would bring stability to the WR corps that may be in for a drastic change.

Next: Cobi Hamilton Goes to Dolphins

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