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Cleveland Browns are front-runners for Ben Tate

NFL Media's Aditi Kinkhabwala reported Tuesday that the Cleveland Browns went into free agency looking for help at safety, slot receiver and running back.

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After locking up Donte Whitner and floating an offer sheet to pass-catcher Andrew Hawkins, the Brownies are on the prowl for that aforementioned backfield help.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday that Cleveland is the front-runner to land Ben Tate, the former Houston Texans rumbler that they've coveted for months. Tate is scheduled to visit with the Browns and it wouldn't be a surprise if he's signed to a contract, per Rapoport.

The 25-year-old ranked as our No. 1 free-agent runner because of his combination of youth and potential as an every-down back. He exits Houston with relatively fresh legs, but his injury history makes durability a concern for any team signing him.

We also expect the Browns to use one or more of their 10 draft picks to bolster a backfield -- currently inhabited by the likes of Fozzy Whittaker, Edwin Baker and Dion Lewis -- that flatlined hard down the stretch in 2013.

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