When the Buffalo Bills traded cornerback Ronald Darby and wide receiver Sammy Watkins, it began a chain of roster moves that has seen the team jettison nearly everyone associated with recent Bills’ regimes in terms of personnel. While Sean McDermott immediately mentioned that Jordan Matthews, acquired in the Darby deal, would start at receiver, the same was not said about corner E.J. Gaines. On Monday, McDermott updated that positional battle, saying that Gaines “has the upper hand” as the team’s starting right cornerback.
As with many positions on the field this offseason, the corner depth chart has seen multiple battles for roles. Kevon Seymour was initially expected to contribute either at right corner or nickel corner, but he was eventually dealt to the Carolina Panthers. That left Gaines and veteran Shareece Wright as the two most likely starters at right corner, with Leonard Johnson manning the inside spot.
The Bills hope that Gaines will rediscover the same form that led him to be one of the best rookies in football in 2014. After suffering a foot injury in 2015 which caused him to miss the entire season, he struggled mightily in 2016, ranking as one of the worst defensive backs in football according to Pro Football Focus. Gaines will line up opposite Buffalo’s first-round draft pick, Tre’Davious White.