Ben Tate was waived by the Cleveland Browns today, being ousted by a pair of rookies, Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West, who have been productive thus far, scoring 8 touchdowns and accounting 766 yards total.
The Tate experiment in Cleveland was short-lived. After signing a two year, $6.2 million deal this past offseason and getting the week one start, a early injury in his first game as a Brown held him out for the following 3 weeks. He came back strong in week 5, running for over 120 yards, but fell off in the week after. Tate put up 333 yards on 106 carries with 4 touchdowns on the season, as well as 60 yards through 9 receptions.
Tate is not a free agent just yet — He will be on waivers initially.
There will be no shortage of NFL teams looking for depth (or even a starter) at the running back position that Tate would fill in nicely.
So, who are these teams? Which teams will be in contention for claiming him off waivers or waiting until he is a free agent (after he clears waivers) and attempting to sign him?
The Broncos have not found a way to get their running game off the ground so far this season. Montee Ball’s return was cut short by a re-injury to the groin against St. Louis, Ronnie Hillman is out for some more time, and C.J. Anderson was underwhelming in his first career start.
This contender needs an experienced, tough runner like Tate. The ex-Brown has shown the ability to produce when given the chance, and Denver makes the most sense for him to be given that, considering the lack of talent they have at the halfback slot. Tate can also be a player in the passing game, which is what made Knowshon Moreno so valuable to Peyton Manning in last season’s Super Bowl run. Ben Tate would be the best running back to play for Denver since Clinton Portis, and would make Peyton Manning’s second Super Bowl run in just as many years a whole lot easier.
Andre Ellington is having an alright season so far as Arizona’s number one, with 624 rush yards, but has only gotten into the endzone thrice in 10 games, while Ben Tate has scored 4 TDs in just 8. Ellington is better suited in the passing game, where he has already accumulated 356 receiving yards and 2 scores.
Tate can step in and be a third down back or even an everydown back for the Cardinals, who are one of the scariest contenders in the league. The loss of Jonathan Dwyer before the season began really set back the Cardinals run game, and filling in his power running absence with Ben Tate would be a solid move in Phoenix.
The Lions are a talented team, but their running game is horrific. Reggie Bush can’t stay healthy, and when he does, he rarely makes a difference. Joique Bell is not producing at the rate that he was last season as Bush’s running mate, and the Lions are a very one dimensional offensive team, relying on Matt Stafford’s big arm.
The addition of the combo speed-power back could alleviate a lot of stress from Stafford and his gunslinger mentality. The actual activation of a capable running game in Detroit would force defenses to send more on the front line and maybe give Stafford even more looks downfield. I’m sure Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate wouldn’t mind that.
Despite Fred Jackson’s nearing return, the Bill’s offense needs help if it wants to get back in the playoff picture. Anthony Dixon was disappointing in his fill in role for the injured Jackson and C.J. Spiller. ”We need all hands on deck,” said Jackson (Via FoxSports). These hands on deck could include an addition to the running back committee, if Buffalo so chooses.
Tate gives the Bills a power back for redzone usage and saves Fred Jackson for passing out of the backfield as well as sparing him a few big hits. The tandem would work well together and give the Bills a more advanced, more dimensional offensive attack as they prepare for their playoff push.
The loss of Ahmad Bradshaw for what looks like the whole season at this point leaves Indy begging for another back. Trent Richardson is a risky play to rely solely on, despite his solid production this year.
Ben Tate would be the third down back as well as fill Bradshaw’s role of Andrew Luck’s favorite passing target for short range plays. Bradshaw has scored 6 touchdowns so far this season through the air, and there is no reason that Tate cannot learn to be converted into this pass catching role.
Tate would be a huge asset for Indy to seize as they prepare to go into the playoffs as the young underdogs looking for revenge after last season.