Ben Tate’s trip to Cleveland wasn’t all for naught. While the free agent running back spent much of the last 48 hours pandering to fans—his tweet of a lit-up Terminal Tower was just the tip of the iceberg—he will leave Berea with a two-year contract that will all but guarantee him as the feature running back of the Browns.
Browns nabbed their RB, agreed to terms with former Texans RB Ben Tate on a two-year deal, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 15, 2014
Speculation swirled regarding Tate’s situation as he was reportedly a physical away as recent as Saturday morning. Tate is coming off broken ribs and has battled other injuries in his four-year career, including a broken ankle that sidelined him his entire rookie season. FOX 8’s John Telich reports that the deal is performance-based, and Tate “must prove [himself] and will get paid.” Schefter reports that the deal is worth up to $7 million.
Tate is 25 years old and comes to Cleveland as the top-ranked free agent running back available. He has rushed for 1992 yards and 10 touchdowns, averaging 4.7 yards per carry for his career. Tate, who considers himself to be an elite rusher, has been primarily a back-up to Houston’s Arian Forster for the past three seasons. In 2013, he ranked eighth amongst running backs in Pro Football Focus’ “elusive rating,” causing 43 missed tackles in 215 total touches.
Tate joins linebacker Karlos Dansby, safety Donte Whitner, tight end Jim Dray and cornerback Isaiah Trufant as those added in the first week of free agency.
[Related: Video: Ben Tate highlights]
Photo: Ben Tate/Twitter