Ben Tate helps, but will Browns stop there?

March, 17, 2014
Mar 17
8:30
AM ET
The Cleveland Browns made a significant improvement to their running game Saturday when Ben Tate agreed to a two-year deal that reports said could be worth up to $7 million.

Tate
Tate
That's a big step for a team that needed a back.

But it will be interesting to see if the Browns stop there. Because they did not pay Tate like a franchise back; his reported $7 million deal and $3.5 million per season is not franchise-back pay.

The average salary is the same that San Diego gave Donald Brown and Jacksonville gave Toby Gerhart, and less than Detroit pays Reggie Bush and Atlanta pays Steven Jackson ($4 million). Fifteen backs average more than the Browns gave Tate.

Too, while Tate in his career has averaged 4.7 yards per carry -- a significant 4.7 yards per carry -- he has never spent an entire season healthy.

One might reasonably conclude that Tate needs help. Whether that comes from the present roster or in the draft in the mid-to-late-rounds is up to the tam. As for a back like Carlos Hyde of Ohio State, the need has decreased but the attraction of adding him hasn't.

Tate might not want another tandem approach, but the combination of him and Hyde would be impressive.

Tate does not believe another back is needed. Which is the way he should feel. The Browns will give him a chance to prove he can be a No. 1 back, and he's eager to prove he deserves it.

There's little to criticize about this move. The Browns haven't had a running back since they traded Trent Richardson, and last year's coaching staff suffered because of it. Willis McGahee was the team's leading rusher with 377 yards. Tate doubled that total despite missing two games and playing with cracked ribs.

The Browns added to their team and made themselves better.

The only question is whether they add more to the position. It would make sense to do so.

Pat McManamon

ESPN Cleveland Browns reporter

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.


Insider