This may sound familiar: The Buffalo Bills have agreed to re-sign free agent cornerback E.J. Gaines to a one-year contract.
This will be Gaines’ third stint with the team, though his second time around in 2019 never panned out because he suffered a groin injury in training camp and was released with an injury settlement.
Gaines, a Fort Osage High School graduate and former University of Missouri star, is the second free agent cornerback the Bills have signed, thus ramping up the competition for holdover Levi Wallace. Josh Norman was signed earlier in free agency.
The 28-year-old Gaines first played for the Bills in 2017 after he was acquired by general manager Brandon Beane in the Sammy Watkins trade to the Rams. He started 11 games that year and had 59 tackles, nine passes defensed, an interception and three forced fumbles.
Although he was a nice fit in Sean McDermott’s zone-based coverage schemes, he chose to leave in 2018, signing a free agent contract with Cleveland.
Gaines – originally a sixth-round pick of the Rams who played in 2014 and 2016 but missed all of 2015 with a Lisfranc injury – got hurt again early in his tenure with the Browns and wound up starting only two of six games due to concussions.
So last year he decided to come back to a place where he’d enjoyed some success, only to see that blown up by his continued inability to stay healthy.
Now, after a year out of the game, the Bills are hoping that at the very least Gaines can add veteran depth at a position that can always use some.