Austin, 29, has never lived up to the massive contract he received in 2010 of seven years and $54.1 million with $18 million guaranteed. After posting consecutive 1,000-yard seasons in 2009 and 2010, Austin has seen a sharp decrease in productivity.
Over the past three seasons, Austin has 579, 973 and 244 yards respectively with a total of 13 touchdowns, including none in 2013. With the Cowboys in a brutal salary cap situation, they are looking to shed salary and Austin is a prime candidate. Dallas is already $24 million over the projected 2014 salary cap, per Spotrac.
On his current deal that runs through 2016, Austin's cap hit ascends from $8.2 million in 2014 to $9.6 and then $12.5 in the final year. If Dallas cuts Austin before the upcoming season, it saves approximately $8.5 million over the three seasons while suffering around $15 million in dead money.
On the field, Jerry Jones and co. are likely looking at young receiver Terrance Williams to replace Austin. Williams was a contributor last season, catching 44 passes for 736 yards and five touchdowns in his rookie campaign.
Dawn Macelli of Blogging The Boys writes about the expectations for Williams next season:
Terrance Williams is ready to take the next step and move into the #2 WR role in Dallas during the 2014 season. He still has plenty of room for improvement, especially in becoming a constant and reliable target for Tony Romo. With Scott Linehan assuming the play-calling duties for the Cowboys and bringing with him an anticipated return to a down-the-field aerial attack (provided Romo is fully healthy), it stands to reason that the second-year wide out will have plenty of opportunities to take his game to the next level.