After a 4 day “stop over” in Cleveland Ben Tate has finally signed with the Browns. Announcing it himself!
— Ben Tate (@BenTateRB) March 15, 2014
Tate has spent his entire young career with the Houston Texans moves on from the shadow of Arian Foster into what is assumed a starting role with the Browns. Tate’s options were limited this off-season as the value of running backs dwindled and most teams did not have a need at starter. That left he and the Browns negotiating against each other during that time. The contract details will be released soon but expect a great deal of incentive based bonuses that the team will gladly pay if Tate reaches them. The amount of time spent in Cleveland means this could be a very creative contract.
On the field Tate is a fit for the Zone Blocking Scheme that Kyle Shanahan will be bringing in. The scheme benefits those who are one cut and go type runners, which Tate has shown an ability to do. Tate does have some injury history concerns that, along with playing behind Foster, give him limited numbers including carries, which is a good thing. Last year Tate carried the ball 181 times for 771 yards, or a more important number 4.3 yards per carry. He also had 34 receptions, an often overlooked part of his game. For his career he has 421 carries, 58 receptions, a 4.7 YPC and 10 total touchdowns.
For the Browns Tate represents possibly the best back they have had on their team in years that it young. Trent Richardson flamed out, Peyton Hillis was one year and done and Jamal Lewis was older. Tate could lock down the position for the next 3 years or so but the Browns may not be finished. The Browns, with their plethora of picks, could also look to add a solid middle round running back in this year’s draft. That would give them insurance in case Tate is injured again or isn’t able to handle a starting load, while also giving Tate a break without a huge down swing in production. Just like at the quarterback position where the Browns have had zero high quality players in a long time, doubling up at both positions through the draft and free agency would be a safe way to play it.
What do you think of the Tate signing? The Browns have a ton of cap space so as long as the contract isn’t off the charts those numbers won’t be vitally important. Do you think Tate solidifies the position? Should the Browns draft a RB in the mid rounds as well? How do you like the offense now?