Ben Tate Released by Browns
Nov 6, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns running back Ben Tate (44) carries the ball during the first half against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
The Cleveland Browns decided to release veteran running back Ben Tate today.
The Browns had recently decided to decrease Tate’s workload. Head coach Mike Pettine had this to say regarding the decision.
"“There’s an explosiveness there with the young backs, just a little more pop. We just wanted to see those guys out there. Sometimes, it’s not a negative against a guy, it’s more a positive with the other ones. We take everything into account when we discuss the running backs.”"
The rookies he’s talking about are undrafted free agent Isaiah Crowell and third-round pick Terrance West. Crowell has proven to be an excellent add by the team. After causing himself to go undrafted due to off-the-field issues, the former Georgia star got his chance with the Browns. He’s since made the most of it.
Currently, Crowell is averaging 4.6 yards/carry while West is averaging 3.6 yards/carry. Releasing Tate, who is averaging just 3.1 yards/carry, was likely a monetary decision as Tate’s contract far exceeds either Crowell’s or West’s. The Browns will eat $2.5 million in dead money this year due to Tate’s release.
Tate’s release also ensures the Browns will get to see exactly what they have in Crowell and West. Crowell looks to be the “bell cow” back he was once envisioned to be prior to his dismissal from Georgia. Terrance West hasn’t started his career in as strong of fashion, but as a third round pick, he still possesses plenty of potential as he develops.
All in all, Tate’s release seems to be a numbers game. The Browns currently have more the $24 million in cap space, so eating $2.5 million is of little concern. They also had three capable backs, which can be an unnecessary amount especially when considering the discrepancy in production amongst the three.
Ben Tate has been a solid veteran over the years, but has become injury prone in the last couple. His release is probably for the best as it’ll also give him the opportunity to find a more opportune situation. Tate’s lack of yards/carry can be at least in part attributed to surprisingly poor blocking from a capable Browns’ offensive line.
This stat could lead several other teams, who are in need of a quality back, to seek Tate’s services. It’ll be interesting to see if a playoff-contending team gives Tate a look as the season heads into its home stretch.