The Cleveland Browns obviously needed some upgrades in the secondary after a disastrous 2017 campaign.
So far this offseason they traded for Damarious Randall and signed T.J. Carrie, Terrence Mitchell and on Friday added another defensive back.
The team signed cornerback E.J. Gaines to a one year deal worth $4 million that could make it to $5 million with incentives.
Gaines will reunite with defensive coordinator Gregg Williams who he spent time with in his first two NFL seasons with the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams in 2014 and 2016.
A sixth round pick out of Missouri in the 2014 NFL Draft, Gaines made an impact early on his career starting in 15 games his rookie season and recording 70 tackles, two interceptions and 14 pass deflections, earning him a spot on the Pro Football Writers Association’s All-Rookie Team.
Injuries have slowed down a promising career as his second season in 2015, a Lisfranc injury shut him down for the entire season. He came back in 2016 and played in 11 games and recorded 56 tackles and seven pass deflections but missed five games with a thigh injury.
The Rams traded him to the Buffalo Bills during the 2017 preseason in exchange for Sammy Watkins and a second round pick. He started in 11 games for Buffalo and had 59 tackles, nine pass deflections, three forced fumbles and an interception.
Pro Football Focus graded him as the 13th best corner in football last season and diving further into the stats, you can see how much of an impact he truly was when on the field.
If he can stay healthy and that’s a big if due to his injury history, Gaines could be a huge steal for the Browns this offseason.
He’ll come into training camp without question being the top cornerback on the depth chart and it still gives the Browns the flexibility to draft a cornerback early with one of the five picks they currently hold in the top 64 selections.
With the additions made at cornerback, there’s no question that Jamar Taylor’s time on the Browns is coming to an end and it’s a matter of when, not if the decision will be made to cut ties with him.