2014 free agency will be good to Ben Tate

HOUSTON -- By the end of the first quarter, Houston Texans running back Ben Tate had 69 yards on eight carries with the help of a couple big runs. Led by offseason acquisition fullback Greg Jones, he scored to end a drive on which he'd accumulated 51 of the Texans' 69 yards.

Things cooled off a bit for Tate in the second quarter as it did for the Texans' offense overall against the New Orleans Saints.

Tate is in an interesting position right now. With starter Arian Foster not taking preseason snaps this week, having just come off the physically unable to perform list, Tate is getting the chance to show what he can do with the first-team offensive line.

And he's not just showing the Texans. With a contract that expires at the end of this season, Tate is likely to garner a lot of interest in free agency.

The Texans like Tate and probably would have re-signed him but for their tight salary cap situation.

He's 24-years old and is without too much mileage, given his status as a backup so far. As long as Tate can stay healthy, he'll prove to be a solid starter somewhere else. Health was his main problem last season.

It's halftime here at Reliant Stadium and the Texans trail 17-16. The Texans kept their starting offense and a lot of their starting defense in for the entire half. The Saints meanwhile, pulled Drew Brees in the second quarter and replaced him with Luke McCown, who led a seven-play 90-yard drive that featured big catches by rookie receiver Kenny Stills on both of Houston's starting corners.

Back after the game.