CLEVELAND (AP) — Ben Tate was on the Browns’ radar for months. He’s now on their roster.
Tate signed a two-year, $7 million free agent deal on Saturday with Cleveland, which has been desperate to find a quality every-down running back since trading Trent Richardson to Indianapolis early last season.
Tate, who spent the past four years with Houston, fills the void and the 25-year-old seems excited to begin a new chapter of his career with the Browns.
“LET’S DO THIS CLEVELAND!! (hashtag) DawgPound,” Tate posted on his Twitter account along with a photo of him wearing a Browns ball cap.
Tate had been linked to the Browns almost from the moment they made the shocking deal to send Richardson to the Colts for a 2014 first-round draft pick. Cleveland considered trading for Tate, but decided to wait until he was available as a free agent. Tate was one of the top free agent backs on the market, and after spending two days visiting the Browns, his agents and the team finalized a deal.
Tate rushed for 771 yards last season, his fourth with the Texans. He played part of the year with broken ribs, an injury that would have sidelined most players.
He has averaged 4.7 yards per attempt during his career. After sitting out his rookie season in 2010 with a broken ankle, Tate took over after starter Arian Foster got hurt in 2011 and rushed for 942 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 5.4 yards per carry.
The Browns ranked tied for 27th in the league with 86.4 yards rushing per game last season and scored only four TDs on the ground.
Tate is the fifth free agent signed by the Browns this week, joining safety Donte Whitner, linebacker Karlos Dansby, cornerback Isaiah Trufant and tight end Jim Dray. Cleveland has signed Cincinnati wide receiver Andrew Hawkins to an offer sheet and is waiting to see if the Bengals are going to match it for the quick slot receiver.
Also, the Browns are in a holding pattern on Pro Bowl center Alex Mack. They designated him as their transition player, locking him into a one-year, $10.039 million deal in 2014 unless he signs an offer sheet elsewhere that Cleveland will have time to match.
AP NFL website: