Even though running backs aren’t quite the hot commodity they used to be, Ben Tate is going to have plenty of suitors once free agency begins, with the New York Jets, Cleveland Browns and Tennessee Titans very interested in signing him.
Tate, as expected, isn’t very happy with the devaluation of players in his position, which is something quite a few upcoming draft picks have talkes about. The reasoning is simple: They’re looking at smaller, lower contracts being offered to them if the current trend of thought continues, thinking of running backs as replaceable and not that meaningful.
Tate has been doing very well for the Houston Texans in a smaller role over the last three seasons, or at least when he’s been healthy. He’s missed eight games over the last three years which isn’t too alarming, but does suggest he has an issue with remaining completely healthy for an entire season without picking up a knock or two. For teams that aren’t signing more than one meaningful running back, that’s a lot to endure.
Tate is efficient, there’s no doubt. He doesn’t get into the endzone a lot, but he is averaging 4.7 yards per carry through his career, going for 771 yards on 181 rushes last season. It wasn’t as explosive as his rookie season (942 yards on 175 carries) but if given the number one role, he should be able to produce big numbers quite nicely.
The Cleveland Browns had no one to hand the ball to after trading Trent Richardson, and Joe Lombardi has been interested in Tate recently. The Tennessee Titans seem to be moving in a new direction when it comes to their running game, and should be very interested in Tate as well. The New York Jets, also looking to get a bit more from their running game, share the same interested according to several reports.
The free agent market for running backs doesn’t favor the players, but Tate is the number one option from what’s out there, and should be able to avoid setteling for the minimal deals offered.