Buffalo Bills Sign Cornerback Phillip Gaines

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Phillip Gaines
DENVER, CO - NOVEMBER 27: Denver Broncos wide receiver Bennie Fowler (16) can't haul in a pass as Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Phillip Gaines (23) defends on the play during overtime November 27, 2016 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium. (Photo By John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
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As speculated by LWOS earlier in the week, the Buffalo Bills have signed free agent cornerback, Phillip Gaines. The Bills’ social media team confirmed the signing with the following tweet:

The details of the Gaines contract have yet to be disclosed.

Buffalo Bills Sign Phillip Gaines

The Bills addressed a much-needed area of depth on Thursday with the signing of Gaines. He spent the first four years of his NFL career as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs. Taken in the third round of the 2014 draft out of Rice University, the 26-year old has amassed a total of 16 starts in 41 career games.

Gaines has not exactly been a playmaker over the course of his NFL career. He has only registered a single interception with 14 passes defended. Last year, Pro Football Focus, had Gaines ranked as the 119th best CB in the NFL. His best statistical season was in 2016, where he totaled an impressive 41 tackles, mainly as a nickel corner.

Physically Gifted Gaines

Standing at 6’0″, 190 pounds, Gaines is blessed with ideal size coupled with blazing speed that saw him register a sizzling 4.38 40-yard dash time a the NFL combine. In addition, Gaines scored the second-quickest three-cone drill among cornerbacks (6.62 seconds). He is adept to playing in zone coverage, which should translate well in coach Sean McDermott‘s defense.

The NFL Network’s Mike Mayock, had the following brief draft analysis on Gaines:

“He’s a long corner who had a tremendous combine workout. I felt like he’s a developmental guy, but he has starter skills.”

Bills Cornerback Depth

Last season, the Bills secondary was definitely an area of strength but has endured a bit of turnover during the off-season. Unrestricted free-agent E.J. Gaines, who was very effective when healthy, was not retained by general manager Brandon Beane. Fellow free agent cornerback, the much-maligned Shareece Wright, recently signed with the Oakland Raiders. Finally, Leonard Johnson, who enjoyed a surprisingly solid season, still remains unsigned.

That left the Bills with spectacular rookie Tre’Davious White as well as unproven Lafayette Pitts and Breon Borders as cornerbacks under contract through the 2018 season. However, the team did begin to fill this newfound deficit in their secondary earlier in the calendar year, when they secured the services of two-time Pro Bowler Vontae Davis to a one-year contract.

Where Gaines Fits in the Bills Defense

If the season were to start today, Gaines would line-up as the team’s starting nickel corner. There is not much competition behind him at the present moment, so expect him to see considerable playing time. That being said, there have been several mock drafts that have the team taking a cornerback early on in the draft. If that were to come to fruition, it would definitely throw a monkey wrench into things with respect to Gaines’ playing time.

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