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Houston Texans 2012: Ben Tate's Future Uncertain

Arian Foster's emergence would likely never have happened if not for the misfortune of Ben Tate. Battle Red Blog looks at Tate's unique situation.

The running back from Auburn was drafted in the second round in 2010 to shore up a Texans running game that featured the ineffective Steve Slaton and Chris Brown. Tate broke his ankle in his first preseason game and was out for the year, allowing undrafted Tennessee Volunteers running back Arian Foster to take the reigns. The rest is history.

Tate played last year and played well behind Foster and while the All-Pro recovered from a hamstring injury. He's probably talented enough to start for most teams, and the Texans certainly love having a committee and insurance for Foster. Fans like the situation, too. But the problem for Tate is that his opportunities to showcase his starting-caliber talent will be limited in Houston. He's going to want No. 1 RB money eventually, and the Texans already have a No 1 RB making No. 1 RB money.

The time to trade Tate might have been this past offseason, when teams were rumored to be offering a second-round pick for him. Next offseason, barring another injury and assuming another good showing from Tate, the former Auburn standout will be in the final year of his rookie contract, giving him less trade value. A team would have to trade for Tate and immediately make him the starter, which would require an extension.

The Texans went from a playoff-caliber team that only lacked a true No. 1 back in 2009 to a division favorite and a team with running backs to spare in 2012. It's a good problem to have, but it's not ideal for Tate.

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