Memo to NFL decision makers: Maybe think twice before signing that free-agent running back in the future. The market for backs already had been depressed coming into last offseason, but this latest news proved that the recession is here to stay. The Browns released running back Ben Tate this morning. — Zac Jackson (@FSOhioZJackson) November 18, 2014 [ Join FanDuel.com's $2.5M Week 12 fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 21,840 teams paid ] Tate didn't sign for huge money at all (two years, $6.2 million), but it's clear now that it was almost a total waste of financial resources. The Cleveland Browns had grown tired of Tate of late, and his performance the past five games — 53 carries, 90 yards — suggested it might be time to stop giving him opportunities and live with the ups and downs of rookie backs Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell. Head coach Mike Pettine said, via ESPN.com , on Monday that Crowell and West were more explosive than Tate. "Three's an explosiveness there with the young backs, just a little bit more pop," Pettine said. "We wanted to see those guys out there. Sometimes it's not a matter of a negative against a guy, it's more of a positive with the other ones. We take everything into account."  Tate had expressed frustration with the Browns' three-back attack. He said he'd "be lying" if he said he was happy with that approach. No need to lie now, Ben. But seriously, look at the free-agent running back class from this past offseason: • The Jacksonville Jaguars signed Toby Gerhart for three years and $10.5 million. They have received a rushing average of 2.6 yards and a long run of 13 on 59 attempts. • The New York Jets signed Chris Johnson for two years and $8 million. He's on pace for nearly half his previous high carry total and has accumulated 193 yards on 44 rushes since Week 5. • The Oakland Raiders — yes, we're piling on here — signed Darren McFadden (one year, $1.75M) and Maurice Jones-Drew (three years, $7.5M) and have received, respectively, 393 and 70 rush yards from the pair. • The Pittsburgh Steelers thought they added some thunder to their backfield, pairing LeGarrette Blount (two years, $3.85M) with Le'Veon Bell, and early this season that looked to be a solid signing. But after his latest stunt, leaving the field early Monday night after receiving zero carries, the Steelers might be on the verge of releasing Blount and swallowing hard on that deal. Injuries have held back the New York Giants' Rashad Jennings (four years, $10M), the Miami Dolphins' Knowshon Moreno (one year, $3M) and the San Diego Chargers' Donald Brown (three years, $10.5M) — and yet each have had their moments for their respective teams, to be fair. For every bargain, such as the Baltimore Ravens' Justin Forsett (one year, $730K) or the Indianapolis Colts' Ahmad Bradshaw (one year, 855K), there are 10 relative failures, it seems. It further drives home the point that handing out checks, even deflated ones, to veteran running backs just doesn't appear to be good business in the NFL these days. Their chances of getting hurt, showing too much wear or not being worth the money — really, any money — appears to be very high. This has to come as depressing news for the Dallas Cowboys' DeMarco Murray, a free agent this coming offseason who has been spectacular this season but might not see anywhere close to the money he thinks he deserves. It's the nature of the NFL these days.  - - - - - - - Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Eric_Edholm
NEW YORK (AP) -- The NFL took a major step this season by authorizing the use of tablets on the sidelines and in coaches' booths. Most everyone from coaches to players to video directors to league executives say it has been a step in the right direction.
Maybe Peyton Manning needs to take a cue from Aaron Rodgers this week. Everyone might need to R-E-L-A-X on the Denver Broncos a bit.  In this quickly changing NFL, it would be surprising if a team didn’t have a bad loss on its record. The Arizona Cardinals are 9-1 and even they have a 21-point defeat, to Denver, on their resum é (albeit when they played a decent part of that game with third-string quarterback Logan Thomas). The Broncos’ 22-7 loss to the St. Louis Rams wasn’t good. It’s possible we look back on it as the game that cost the Broncos a first-round bye or the AFC West. But it’s also understandable. [ Join FanDuel.com's $2.5M Week 12 fantasy league: $25 to enter; top 21,840 teams paid ] The Rams played well. It happens. And when the Broncos lost Emmanuel Sanders, Julius Thomas and Montee Ball during the contest, it eliminated a big part of the game plan. Andre Caldwell and Jacob Tamme can’t do the things Sanders and Thomas do. The Broncos should have scored more than seven points, but one bad game doesn’t mean they’re not a good team. The Patriots have taken a couple bad losses. The Cardinals were blown out once. The Packers have a few uncompetitive losses. Now the Broncos have a couple, too. If the Broncos’ injuries linger longer than expected, maybe we will have to re-evaluate them. And who knows, if the Kansas City Chiefs beat them in a couple weeks at Arrowhead Stadium (don’t discount that happening, with how well the Chiefs are playing), maybe the Broncos will just be one of those really good teams that has to settle for a wild-card spot. But we’ll see about all that. For right now, the Broncos are just fine, even with two losses in three games. A few teams might be playing better, but I wouldn’t rank many ahead of them. The talent on that roster is too good for them to be average. Relax. Here are the rest of the post-Week 11 NFL power rankings: 32. Oakland Raiders (0-10, Last Week: 32) Every week that Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew get carries ahead of Latavius Murray, the Raiders are showing they don't get it. I don't know if Murray, a big, physical second-year player, is any good. But neither do the Raiders, and that's the problem. 31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9, LW: 30) The Jaguars went 4-12 in Gus Bradley's first season. They'd have to go 3-3 the rest of the way to match that. I hope ownership doesn't overreact if their record is worse because Bradley is the right guy there. 30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-8, LW: 31) Mike Evans was the first rookie receiver with 200 yards and two touchdowns in a game since Anquan Boldin in 2003. Even in a potentially historic receiver draft class, Evans might be the best one. It's a debate that will be fun to track. 29. Tennessee Titans (2-8, LW: 29) We're getting close to a point where Zach Mettenberger has locked up the 2015 starting quarterback job. After what he has shown, is there any chance the Titans won't use next season to give him a legitimate look? 28. New York Jets (2-8, LW: 28) Is there a number of wins in New York's last six games that Rex Ryan could hit to save his job? I'd probably put it at a minimum of four. 27. Washington Redskins (3-7, LW: 26) Jay Gruden's very specific criticism of Robert Griffin III on Monday seemed like him saying, "Nothing else is getting through, let me try this approach." 26. New York Giants (3-7, LW: 24) Sadly, the Giants probably would have won Sunday's game against the 49ers had Eli Manning thrown just four interceptions. Alas, he threw five. 25. Carolina Panthers (3-7-1, LW: 23) A team that has lost five straight is a half-game out of first place. 24. Atlanta Falcons (4-6, LW: 27) There is, by the way, a scenario in which the NFC South could be won by a 5-11 team. That's mathematically possible. In related news, I better not get one "How can you rank a first-place team so low???" email or tweet this week. 23. Minnesota Vikings (4-6, LW: 21) Sunday's loss to the Bears was the fifth time in six games the Vikings didn't reach 20 points. And it was against the Bears, who give up 14 by the time the national anthem is done. Lot of work to be done there. 22. Chicago Bears (4-6, LW: 25) Four of the Bears' last six games are at home. If they can win those, and upset the Lions on the road on Thanksgiving, then go into Week 17 at Minnesota with nine wins ... I'm sorry Bears fans, I don't know why I just did that to you. 21. New Orleans Saints (4-6, LW: 19) Rookie receiver Brandin Cooks wasn't dominating this season, but he was pretty good, and it's going to be very hard for the Saints to replace what he does while he's out four-to-six weeks with a broken thumb. 20. St. Louis Rams (4-6, LW: 22) They should be in so much better shape than 4-6. 19. Houston Texans (5-5, LW: 20) The first question of Bill O'Brien's Monday news conference was why Ryan Mallett didn't start before Week 11. His answer was basically that he wanted to make sure Mallett was ready. But he probably has to wonder if things would be different if he had pulled the trigger earlier. 18. Buffalo Bills (5-5, LW: 17) Nobody checked the expiration date on Kyle Orton. It has passed. 17. Cincinnati Bengals (6-3-1, LW: 18) How do you evaluate a team that looked so bad at home against the Browns and so good on the road at the Saints in an 11-day stretch? 16. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-4, LW: 16) It just shouldn't be that hard against really bad teams. 15. Cleveland Browns (6-4, LW: 13) The good news is Josh Gordon is back. The bad news is they won't get that loss to the Texans back. They really could have used that one. 14. San Diego Chargers (6-4, LW: 15) There were a few times on Sunday when it didn't seem like Philip Rivers would be getting up. It's no surprise to hear he has been playing through injuries. 13. San Francisco 49ers (6-4, LW: 12) NaVorro Bowman was cleared to return to practice. Hopefully he makes it back this season because that would be a great story for a great player. 12. Miami Dolphins (6-4, LW: 14) Well, if you have to play Denver this might be a good time for it. The Dolphins could use an upset like that, too. 11. Baltimore Ravens (6-4, LW: 11) In the AFC North logjam, it seems like the Ravens have the best team. They could take a huge step by winning at New Orleans next Monday night. 10. Detroit Lions (7-3, LW: 9) It's clear they're heading toward a wild-card berth , but I'll say this: They're going to be a tough out in the opening weekend (unless Matthew Stafford plays like he did at Arizona, of course). 9. Seattle Seahawks (6-4, LW: 8) A lot is being made of Marshawn Lynch , like he's a reason for the Seahawks' issues. Let's think this through. Do we think Lynch debuted a new personality this year? No. And how were the Seahawks with all of Lynch's "distractions" or whatever you'd like to call them the past few years? 8. Dallas Cowboys (7-3, LW: 7) They still have four road games left, but the good news is that three come against bad teams (Giants, Bears, Redskins). 7. Indianapolis Colts (6-4, LW: 5) You can't discount Andrew Luck getting hot and carrying this team deep in the playoffs, but they're just not one of the elite teams in the conference. 6. Kansas City Chiefs (7-3, LW: 10) They beat the defending champs with 11 completions and 108 yards. Old-school football fans, this is your squad. 5. Philadelphia Eagles (7-3, LW: 3) A close loss at Lambeau would have been no big deal. But that blowout loss? Not a good look. 4. Denver Broncos (7-3, LW: 2) The running back situation is an issue. Ronnie Hillman and Montee Ball are out a while. The Broncos can't just ditch the run, like they did at St. Louis. 3. Arizona Cardinals (9-1, LW: 6) Maybe Drew Stanton is just one of those stories, where his NFL history doesn't matter and he has a great season. He looked just fine against the Lions. 2. Green Bay Packers (7-3, LW: 4) I hear you, Cardinals fans. But I pick Aaron Rodgers and this team over the Cardinals on a neutral field right now. Simple. 1. New England Patriots (8-2, LW: 1) The gap is pretty wide between Nos. 1 and No. 2 at this point. They could lose a game (and with that schedule, it's likely), and I'm not sure I'd drop them from this spot. - - - - - - - Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdowncorner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- Sitting at home hours after tying his career-worst game with five interceptions, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning couldn't avoid watching the video of the frustrating loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) -- The San Francisco 49ers might be getting closer to adding a couple of big names back to their injury-depleted defense.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- The New York Giants have activated guard Geoff Schwartz off recallable injured reserve.
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (AP) -- There was no trick to Kevin Harvick's first Sprint Cup championship. Competing for the title against three other drivers, he seized his opportunity with a relentless dash through the field in the closing laps of the season finale.
It's heating up in Green Bay.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -- The San Francisco 49ers have the defense to make a run at a Super Bowl. Colin Kaepernick and the offense just have to catch up.
Federal drug enforcement agents showed up unannounced Sunday to check at least three visiting NFL teams' medical staffs as part of an investigation into former players' claims that teams mishandled prescription drugs.

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