The San Francisco 49ers announced on Saturday they have signed WR Tavon Austin and WR J.J. Nelson to one-year deals. In order to make room on the roster, the team waived TE Daniel Helm and waived/injured WR Chris Thompson.
Austin (5-8, 185) was originally drafted by the St. Louis Rams as the eighth overall pick of the 2013 NFL Draft. Throughout his seven-year career with the Rams (2013-17) and Dallas Cowboys (2018-19), he has appeared in 96 games (50 starts) and registered 215 receptions for 2,006 yards and 15 touchdowns to go along with 196 rushing attempts for 1,340 yards and 10 touchdowns. A member of the Pro Football Writers of America's All-Rookie team in 2013 as a kick returner, Austin has returned 185 punts for 1,498 yards and three touchdowns and 25 kickoffs for 451 yards on special teams. He has also appeared in three postseason contests (two starts) and registered two receptions for five yards on offense and returned five punts for 73 yards on special teams.
In 2019 with Dallas, Austin appeared in 14 games and finished with 13 receptions for 177 yards and one touchdown to go along with six rushing attempts for 47 yards. He also added 17 punt returns for 84 yards.
A 30-year-old native of Baltimore, MD, Austin spent four years (2009-12) at West Virginia University where he appeared in 52 games (41 starts) and finished with 288 receptions for 3,413 yards and 29 touchdowns on offense to go along with 97 kickoff returns for 2,407 yards and four touchdowns and 34 punt returns for 433 yards and one touchdown on special teams.
Nelson (5-10, 160) was originally drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the fifth round (159th overall) of the 2015 NFL Draft. Throughout his five-year career with the Cardinals (2015-18) and Oakland Raiders (2019), he has appeared in 58 games (16 starts) and registered 85 receptions for 1,475 yards and 11 touchdowns to go along with 12 rushing attempts for 120 yards and one touchdown. He has also appeared in two postseason contests and added three receptions for 33 yards.
In 2019 with Oakland, Nelson appeared in two games (one start) and finished with four receptions for 36 yards and one touchdown prior to being released by the team on October 10, 2019.
A 28-year-old native of Midfield, AL, Nelson spent five years (2010-14) at the University of Alabama at Birmingham where he appeared in 46 games (22 starts) and finished with 116 receptions for 2,273 yards and 20 touchdowns to go along with 18 rushing attempts for 90 yards and one touchdown. He also added 76 kickoff returns for 1,932 yards and five touchdowns and 35 punt returns for 375 yards and one touchdown.
Helm (6-4, 225) spent the majority of the 2019 season on the team's practice squad prior to being promoted to the active roster on December 12, 2019. Thompson (6-0, 175) signed to the team's practice squad on December 3, 2019 where he spent the remainder of the season.