Breaking down Ben Tate's contract

March, 19, 2014
Mar 19
8:30
AM ET
Ben Tate's contract with the Cleveland Browns is a “show me” deal that rewards him for staying healthy, but puts off his big payday until 2016.

Tate
Tate
The deal is for two years and $6.2 million, and breaks down this way, according to ESPN's Roster Management System:
  • Tate received a signing bonus of $1.5 million.
  • He will be paid $1 million in base salary this season, a figure that is fully guaranteed.
  • That gives him $2.5 million in guaranteed money.
  • After the season, Tate will receive a roster bonus that pays him $46,875 for every game he’s active. If he’s active for 16 games, he’ll receive $750,000, which is the maximum bonus. This clause clearly is a protection for the team against Tate’s injuries. He has been injured in every season he’s played.
  • The roster bonus is counted in an interesting way against the salary cap. Likely to be earned money counts against the cap. Because Tate played in 14 games in 2013, it’s considered likely he’ll play in 14 in 2014. That means $656,250 of the roster bonus counts against the 2014 salary cap (14 games times $46,875).
  • Tate is due a base salary of $2.2 million in 2015.
  • He also is due the same roster bonus.

Tate’s salary cap cost in 2014 is $2.406 million -- $750,000 for the prorated signing bonus ($1.5 million divided by two years on the deal), $1 million for the base salary and $656,250 for the roster bonus. His salary cap cost in 2015 is $2.95 million.

The deal is extremely team friendly, but Tate will get a great opportunity to prove he can and should be a starting running back. If he succeeds he’ll cash in two years from now, or in a year if he’s good enough to demand an extension from the Browns.

It’s a contract that works for both sides.

Pat McManamon

ESPN Cleveland Browns reporter

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