Looking at the film, it’s easy to see why the Seahawks have looked to find a potential replacement for Tate. It’s also easy to see why he put up some impressive stats in 2012, and why Seahawks fans love him.
Tate still doesn’t run crisp routes, and after 3 years in the NFL, it’s unlikely that he ever will. Because of this, he is almost never able to get open within the first 2.5 seconds the play. Its that time span that NFL offense require a WR to get open, which is why I think the Seahawks will let Tate walk at the end of 2013, and why they drafted Chris Harper back in April.
On the other hand, Tate excelled after that point. When the play would break down, and QB Russell Wilson would break containment and get outside, it was Tate that he found for a big play over and over again. Plus, once the ball was in his hands, Tate’s athleticism showed up and good things happened for the Seahawks.
As for what to expect in 2013, it is difficult to expect anything but lesser numbers for Tate. The acquisition of Percy Harvin is likely to effect Tate’s playing time more anyone else. Plus, since Chris Harper is being groomed to be the Split End of the future, he’s also likely get a few snaps each game at Tate’s expense.
Still, Tate has a way of making good things happen when given the chance. The Seahawks would be foolish to not get Tate on the field in situations when a play simply has to be made, like any third or 4th down situation, so Tate’s playing time isn’t going to completely evaporate. There’s also been some talk of have Tate return punts, and possibly kickoffs as well, now that Leon Washington is gone.