Can the Houston Texans Afford to Pay Ben Tate?

The Houston Texans find themselves in the extremely fortunate position of having two running backs fully capable of disemboweling the competition in Arian Foster and Ben Tate.  However, with Foster set to earn almost $18 million in 2012, and Tate approaching the end of his contract, this two headed beast could soon cease to exist.From Mark Sessler of NFL-AtL:

Arian Foster will earn at least $17.5 million this season. His backfield partner, Ben Tate — the NFL’s most prolific backup in 2011 — will take in just $490,000.

This after Tate produced 942 rushing yards last season, only 290 fewer than Foster.

They’re arguably the league’s most dangerous tandem of runners, but if Tate posts another big campaign, the Texans might find themselves in a tough spot. Tate has made no demands, but it’s unlikely the team can afford to keep both long term.

Tate’s contract expires after next season.  With Arian Foster already locked in to a 5 years $43.5 million dollar contract, chances are slim that the Texans will pony up the necessary coin to keep Tate long term.  Foster’s salary also likely knocks the potential use of the franchise tag off the table.  I can guarantee you there are teams salivating at the thought of landing Ben Tate with a free agent deal in the near future.  This will be a situation worth keeping an eye.

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