The Cleveland Browns finally found their new starting running back, reaching an agreement with former Houston Texans back up Ben Tate over the weekend. The Browns signed Tate to a two-year contract worth up to $7 million, but Tate could have nabbed a heftier contract if there weren't concerns about his health.
Tate has struggled with injuries throughout his four-year career, which led to an incentive heavy deal that is very friendly for the Browns.
"The Browns’ concerns about Tate’s durability were reflected in their firmness not to break the bank for him," writes Tony Grossi for ESPNCleveland. "The two-year deal for a maximum of $7 million is team-friendly."
The running back has missed 24 games throughout the past few seasons with ankle, hamstring, foot and rib injuries. Tate earned less in free agency than Donald Brown and Toby Gerhart (both signed deals that could be worth up to $10.5 million), as well as Rashad Jennings (he could earn up to $14 million with the Giants).
Cleveland was one of the only teams to publicly show interest in the former Texan, so the durability issues may have scared off a number of teams from around the league.
Despite his poor injury history, Tate has the talent to excel in the Browns' new offensive scheme under offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. The Shanahan's are well known for their zone-blocking philosophy, which is perfect for the one-cut running style that Tate has had success with when healthy. At the very least, Tate is a huge upgrade over Willis McGahee,who the team was forced to use as their feature back in 2013.