Monday, October 14, 2013
Time for Texans to trade Tate?
By Tom Carpenter
The Houston Texans' 2013 campaign is not yet in the grave, but their "vitals" are headed in the wrong direction. They have lost four straight games, which puts them three losses behind the first-place Indianapolis Colts in the AFC South (though the Colts will have to win Monday night to maintain that lead). Starting quarterback Matt Schaub has been a mess, and now is injured. If he misses Week 7, backups T.J. Yates and Case Keenum will have their work cut out for them on the road against the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs. If they fall to 2-5, that may signify the final nail in the coffin as they head into their Week 8 bye.
Coincidentally, the trade deadline arrives right after Week 8, and if the Texans begin looking toward the offseason, they may give serious thought to trading backup RB Ben Tate, who will be an unrestricted free agent after the season. As always, any trade speculation requires caveats about what the player would cost in a trade and whether a team would be willing to acquire him as a potential nine-week "rental," but here are some teams that could be interested in his services:
- Cleveland Browns: Immediately after they traded Trent Richardson to the Colts, it was rumored that the Browns intended to target Tate as a free agent. They may prefer to save their draft picks for the draft, but if they hear through back channels that Tate would be interesting in signing with them, perhaps they would be willing to simply go get him now.
- Dallas Cowboys: Any interest they might have in trading for Tate would be tied directly to how long starting RB DeMarco Murray will be sidelined due to his sprained knee. If it is going to be a lengthy absence or the Cowboys fear the injury-prone back could go down again later, adding a play-making running back with a career 5.1 yards-per-carry average would make a lot of sense.
- Miami Dolphins: This is more of a wild-card option. The front office has remained steadfast in their public support of RBs Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas, but Miller is averaging just 4.2 yards per carry and hasn't touched the 70-yard rushing mark in a game, while Thomas has an abysmal 2.6 yards per carry. If behind closed doors the Fins have genuine concerns about the pair of running backs, maybe they would consider acquiring Tate for the stretch run.