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2019 NFL free agency: E.J. Gaines Buffalo Bills contract numbers

The Bills land a bargain if the cornerback can stay healthy

When it was reported that E.J. Gaines had re-signed with Buffalo with a one-year, $3.6 million contract, the announcement was met with a round of cheers. Now that contract details have been published by, those cheers should become a roar, as we see the fan favorite but oft-injured cornerback return to our defense for little more than what he earned during his first stint in town.

Despite those initial reports, Gaines’s new contract contains only $250,000 guaranteed, in the form of a signing bonus, along with a $100,000 workout bonus. Add to that a $1.25 million salary and $31,250 per game roster bonus, and his total price tag comes to $2.1 million for the 2019 season.

Having played 6 games in 2018, the roster bonus counts $187,500 against the current cap, giving him a total cap hit of $1,787,500 this year, and leaves a potential $312,500 in 2020 dead money should he remain active the entire season.

While presumed to be in competition with fellow free agent signee Kevin Johnson to start opposite Tre White, the two combined are still costing less than last year’s attempt to fill the role with Vontae Davis.


Signing bonus: $250,000
Workout bonus: $100,000
Salary: $1,250,000
Per-game active roster bonus: $31,250 per game ($187,500 likely to be earned, $312,500 unlikely to be earned)

Salary cap figure: $1,787,500
Dead money if cut: $250,000 if cut before first game

*With a difference of exactly $1.5 million between the initially reported $3.6 million total value, and the now published $2.1 million total, there’s a decent chance there are additional incentives in the contract that have not yet been reported. If so, the effect of such incentives would be minimal, presumably show as additional dead money in 2020, and if earned only be representative of Gaines’s success on the field this season.