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Report: Buffalo Bills sign E.J. Gaines to one-year contract

Deja vu.

The Buffalo Bills are bringing back a familiar face: cornerback E.J. Gaines is signing another one-year contract with the team, after doing so last season and playing for the team in 2017. The news came from NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport.

In 2019, Gaines had signed a one-year contract worth up to $3.6 million, but ended up only costing the Bills $350,000 when a core muscle injury ended his year in the preseason. Injuries have been the story of Gaines’s career, as he was an effective starter for the Bills during the 2017 season. That year, he played in 11 games, defending nine passes and contributing 59 tackles. Unfortunately, he’s suffered a multitude of ailments over the years, most recently his groin injury in 2019 and two concussions and an MCL injury in 2018.

At this point, Gaines can be expected to compete for a similar role to Kevin Johnson from last season—and, in fact, that was how his trajectory looked before the injury derailed his preseason. Johnson would end up playing 32 percent of snaps as Buffalo’s primary backup cornerback.

The Gaines signing is the latest instance of the Bills’ brass reaching for known quantities during an uncertain offseason amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. The team already signed several free agents familiar with head coach Sean McDermott and assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier’s defense, and looks to return ten of 11 starters on offense.