Less than a year after signing him to a multiyear deal in free agency, the Browns announced today (Twitter link) that they’ve released running back Ben Tate. Assuming Tate passes through waivers unclaimed, he’ll be free to sign with any team later this week.
Viewed as one of the top options on the open market back in March, Tate joined the Browns after backing up Arian Foster in Houston for the duration of his rookie contract. While it initially appeared that Tate would be the No. 1 back in Cleveland, a combination of injuries and the emergence of rookies Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell has relegated Tate to a complementary role. The 26-year-old, who has been frustrated by his lack of playing time, received just two carries for minus-nine yards during Sunday’s loss to the Texans.
None of Tate’s salary for the 2015 season is guaranteed, though a prorated portion of his $1.5MM signing bonus will remain on the team’s cap. The club will gain nearly $3MM in ’15 cap room by cutting him, reducing his hit from $3.7MM to just $750K in dead money.
As for Tate’s next team, Indianapolis is the first club that comes to mind, considering Ahmad Bradshaw is believed to have fractured his ankle and will likely be sidelined for the season. However, as Jason Cole of Bleacher Report observes (via Twitter), the team’s offense is “exceptionally complex” for running backs, which is one reason Trent Richardson has struggled. As such, the Colts may not be interested in bringing aboard a back who’s not familiar with their system, particularly one who griped about a lack of touches with his previous team.