WEDNESDAY, 4:15pm: Tate has cleared waivers and is free to sign with any team, tweets Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. While the Colts and Cardinals had previously placed claims on the running back when he was waived by the Browns, the two teams apparently decided against adding an outsider prior to the playoffs.
TUESDAY, 4:52pm: Running back Ben Tate has been cut for the second time this season, a source tells Field Yates of ESPN.com, who reports (via Twitter) that the Vikings have parted ways with Tate. As was the case when Tate was dropped by the Browns earlier in the season, teams will have an opportunity to put in waiver claims before the running back becomes eligible for free agency.
Tate, 26, was viewed as one of the more high-profile running backs available in free agency this past offseason, and inked a two-year deal with the Browns in the hopes of assuming the role of the No. 1 back in Cleveland. However, he was surpassed on the team’s depth chart by rookies Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West, and was released in November, at which point the Vikings claimed him off waivers. Since then, Tate has done little to impress in Minnesota, recording 38 yards on 13 carries, for 2.9 yards per carry, an average even worse than his 3.1 mark with the Browns.
When Cleveland cut Tate, the Colts and Cardinals both submitted claims, but were behind the Vikings in waiver priority. Unlike Minnesota, Indianapolis and Arizona will both see their seasons continue beyond Week 17, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if both teams took another long look at Tate — particularly since both clubs are missing their top backs, in Ahmad Bradshaw and Andre Ellington respectively. Tate’s stint with the Vikings didn’t inspire much confidence in his postseason potential, but he at least represents an inexpensive gamble.
If the Colts, Cardinals, or any other club were to claim Tate, they’d take on his current contract, which calls for a non-guaranteed base salary of $2.2MM in 2015.