Browns and RB Ben Tate agreed to terms on a two-year deal, per league source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 15, 2014
The Cleveland Browns have gotten their man. In a negotiation that took the better part of two days in person and probably since free agency began, Ben Tate will be the top running back for the Browns this year in Kyle Shanahan’s offense. The reports have suggested that Tate and the Browns fought long and hard over ironing out the financials of this contract, which have not been released.
For the Browns, they have what is hopefully just the first new running back for the team this year. Tate has shown promise in his time with the Houston Texans, but has never been the full time starter and has had problems getting nicked up during his career. Often running with broken ribs, an issue that hurt Trent Richardson his rookie year, Tate has battled through, but it has held him back.
Although Tate has never played under Shanahan, he has played in a zone blocking scheme under Gary Kubiak, so they know he can fit within it. Tate should be comfortable to make the transition effectively and could be a nice boost to the offense that could not run for the ball to save its life last year.
The hope is the Browns also add another running back in the draft to have someone to be there in case Tate were to get hurt and just to be able to offer a change of pace. The team liked Dion Lewis last year, but he broke his leg in preseason and missed the entire year. Along with Lewis, the Browns could invite Edwin Baker to camp and still have Chris Ogbannaya under contract. the draft is deep at running back this year and the opportunity for value is going to be there.