According to a report, the Cleveland Browns are interested in trading for Texans running back Ben Tate.
The 23-year-old Tate, a second-round pick in 2010, was expected to start at running back as a rookie before tearing his ACL prior to the start of the season. Of course, that opened the door for now-Pro Bowler Arian Foster to become one of the most dynamic runners in the NFL. Because of Foster’s dominance over the past two seasons, it makes sense for the Texans to move Tate before he demands a pay raise.
Tate played in 15 games for the Texans last season, accumulating 974 yards at 5.4 yards a carry (while proving to be a great value pick in my fantasy football draft last season). He broke the 100-yard mark four times last season and showed glimpses – including a 112-yard performance against the Browns – of being a legitimate featured back. The 220-pound Tate, who ran at 4.4 40-yard dash at the 2010 NFL Combine, would provide the Browns with speed that the team desperately needs in the backfield.
Even if the Browns trade for Tate, the team still may consider re-signing Peyton Hillis or other bruiser free agents such as Michael Bush or Mike Tolbert. Doing so would provide the Browns with the best thunder-and-lightning combination they have had since returning to the NFL. Well, their only real thunder-and-lightning combination since returning to the NFL.
Ben Tate would be a nice acquisition for the Browns, which is more than I can say about many of the team’s recent non-draft pickups. Someone should probably inform Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert that free agency started yesterday, but this trade would actually make Browns fans smile for once. It would mark my second Browns-related smile of the offseason, joining yesterday’s smile caused by the news that the Browns will not pursue quarterback Matt Flynn. Dreams do come true!