To say that Ben Tate's 2012 season was disappointing would be a gross understatement. He only saw action in 11 games during the regular season, during which he posted a line of 65 carries for 279 yards and 2 TDs. The entirety of his postseason contributions to the Texans was two carries for a single yard in the Wild Card victory over the Bengals. Coming off his excellent 2011 season, when he was arguably the best RB2 in the league, Tate took a colossal step backward in 2012. Whether it was due to injury, ineffectiveness, or having all his mail forwarded to Gary Kubiak's doghouse, Tate was a complete non-factor.
As most Texans fans know, Ben Tate is about to enter the last year of his rookie contract and is thus eligible for free agency after the 2013 season. According to Spotrac, he's scheduled to earn $575,000.00 in salary next year which, combined with a prorated portion of his signing bonus, will lead to a cap number of $844,250.00 in 2013. It's awfully difficult to see the Texans re-signing Tate under any circumstance for multiple reasons we've discussed before--the presence of Arian Foster, Foster's contract, Tate's injury history (recall that in addition to the problems he had staying healthy in 2011 that he missed all of 2010 after getting hurt in the preseason), the fungible nature of running backs (both in the NFL and specifically in the Texans' offensive scheme), Tate's presumed desire to be a featured back and to be paid accordingly, whether the two sides would even want to continue their relationship, etc.
Assume with me that there is a team out there that wants to acquire Ben Tate. To do this, that team is willing to part with a fourth-round pick. The salad days of thinking that Ben Tate could fetch a first or second round pick are over, especially with Tate coming off a poor 2012 and being one year closer to free agency. I don't think the Texans could even get a third-rounder for him now. Indeed, theorizing that he could fetch a fourth-rounder may be overly optimistic, but let's go with that for the purpose of this exercise.
Would you trade Ben Tate for a fourth-round pick right now? Vote in the poll below and explain your reasoning in the Comments.