Phillip Gaines

Minor NFL Transactions: 3/15/19

Today’s minor moves:

Chicago Bears

Cleveland Browns

Los Angeles Chargers

Oakland Raiders

Browns Claim CB Phillip Gaines, S Jermaine Whitehead Off Waivers

The Browns claimed cornerback Phillip Gaines (from the Bills) and safety Jermaine Whitehead (Packers) off waivers, a source tells Adam Schefter of (on Twitter). If placed on the active roster, both players will be available for Sunday’s game against the Falcons.

Cleveland’s been short on secondary personnel recently. Damarious Randall missed Week 9 because of groin and ankle injuries, and E.J. Gaines (concussion) is now on IR.

Both Cleveland-bound players have connections to the front office. John Dorsey drafted Gaines in the third round while serving as the Chiefs’ GM in 2014, and Whitehead caught on with the Packers in 2016, when Browns execs Eliot Wolf and Alonzo Highsmith were in Green Bay.

Phillip Gaines signed a league-minimum deal with the Bills after four seasons of up-and-down work with the Chiefs. He started in six Buffalo games this season — the most of his career — and made 54 tackles.

Whitehead started in two Packers contests and was expected to be a bigger part of Green Bay’s secondary following the Ha Ha Clinton-Dix trade. The former UDFA, however, was ejected from Sunday’s game against the Patriots, further weakening an already-thin safety contingent. He played 221 snaps this season, registered 37 stops and recorded a sack.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bills Release CB Phillip Gaines

The Bills have released starting cornerback Phillip Gaines, the club announced today. Buffalo has promoted fellow defensive back Levi Wallace from the practice squad to fill Gaines’ vacated roster spot.

Gaines, 27, had started six games for the Bills and was second among Buffalo cornerbacks in defensive snaps with 367, but he hadn’t played especially well. Pro Football Focus graded Gaines as the No. 56 CB among 111 qualifiers, while the ex-Chief had allowed 10.6 yards per pass and a 50% success rate, both of which are well below league average. Buffalo also ranked 19th in pass DVOA against opposing No. 2 receivers, the majority of which were covered by Gaines.

Penalties were also a problem for Gaines. As noted by Mike Rodak of (Twitter links), Gaines leads all NFL players with 131 penalty yards. Additionally, Gaines gave up 90 yards via penalty against the Bears on Sunday (both on lengthy pass interference calls), a total which ranks second among all players since 2001.

With Gaines out of the picture, Ryan Lewis — a waiver claim by the Bills earlier this years — figures to start at corner against the Jets on Sunday, tweets Joe Buscaglia of WKBW. Taron Johnson, who has played roughly 55% of Buffalo’s defensive snaps, will continue in his role as the club’s nickel cornerback.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bills Notes: Allen, McCoy, Staff, CBs

Despite the quarterback battle between Nathan Peterman and Josh Allen being close during the preseason, the Bills did not want their No. 7 overall pick to have to play so soon. They hoped Peterman would keep the job “for a while” while Allen learned, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reports. However, after Peterman’s 0.0 passer rating against the Ravens, little debate ensued about making the move to the rookie for Week 2.

You wish you had more to go on than just the three starts, and it might be different if this was a veteran with a five-year body of work,” a Bills source told La Canfora, recalling Peterman’s five-interception start against the Chargers last season. “But you don’t have anything else to go on, and after it happens a second time you can’t just write it off as an anomaly.”

Allen is now the starter, but La Canfora reports the Bills remain on the lookout for quarterbacks — via the waiver wire and on other teams’ depth charts. However, as for their QB1 job, it’s Allen’s. Sean McDermott confirmed as much Monday (via Joe Buscaglia of WKBW, on Twitter). Citing the Wyoming product’s intellect, the Bills did not envision their draft prize sitting an entire season like some expected, per Ian Rapoport of (video link). In his first start, a loss to the Chargers, Allen completed 18 of 33 passes for 245 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.

Here’s the latest from Buffalo:

  • Allen may not have LeSean McCoy available to take handoffs in Week 3. The former All-Pro running back cracked rib cartilage against the Chargers, Adam Schefter of tweets, adding McCoy will be questionable to face Vikings. Worries existed this injury indeed was cracked ribs, per Ian Rapoport of (on Twitter), who adds this injury won’t be classified as a fracture. Chris Ivory resides as Buffalo’s backup running back.
  • McDermott took over play-calling duties from defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier mid-game, he confirmed after the Bills’ loss to the Chargers. “I just thought we needed a spark and that’s my background,” McDermott said. Frazier said during his tenure he and McDermott have worked collaboratively, per Mike Rodak of (on Twitter).
  • Vontae Davis‘ mid-game retirement obviously caught the Bills by surprise, and it’s final. McDermott will not be reaching out to the cornerback, who signed with the Bills this offseason. “I have not been in touch with Vontae today,” McDermott said (via Buscaglia, on Twitter). “His actions were loud and clear. My focus is on my team right now.”
  • Despite the 30-year-old corner retiring, the Bills received a roster exemption for Davis, Rapoport tweets. It’s a left-squad designation, per NFL reporter Howard Balzer (Twitter link).
  • Phillip Gaines will now be counted on to start opposite Tre’Davious White, but he’s encountered some injury trouble. Gaines dislocated one of his elbows, Mike Rodak of tweets. That may not stop him from playing in Week 3, but it’s a concern at this point, per Rodak. After a shaky stay with the Chiefs, Gaines joined Davis in signing with the Bills this offseason. The Bills have fourth-round rookie Taron Johnson and third-year player Lafayette Pitts on their roster. With Davis gone and Gaines injured, Buffalo has three available corners at this moment.

Contract Details: Texans, Weeden, Bills

A deeper look at some recent free agent deals:

  • Quarterback Brandon Weeden‘s contract with the Texans is for one year at a rate of $880K. The deal includes $230K in guaranteed cash between $140K of his base being assured and a $90K signing bonus. Weeden has not seen the field since 2015 when he appeared in four games for Dallas and two for the Texans. The 34-year-old (35 in October) has a career 6-19 record.
  • Linebacker Will Compton’s one-year deal with the Titans can be worth up to $2MM, John Keim of tweets. The deal included a $250K signing bonus. As Keim notes, that’s a solid contract for Compton considering that shoulder and Lisfranc injuries held him back in 2017. With the Titans, he’ll have an opportunity to reassert himself and potentially start.
  • The Bills’ contracts signed last week with cornerback Phillip Gaines and wide receiver/punt returner Kaelin Clay were both for one year at minimum salaries, Mike Rodak of tweets. Gaines is not well regarded by the advanced metrics, but he was a pivotal reserve for Kansas City from 2014-2017 and started some games last year due to Steven Nelson‘s injury.

Bills Sign CB Phillip Gaines

The Bills announced that they have signed cornerback Phillip Gaines. Terms of the deal are not yet known. 

Gaines spent the past three seasons with the Chiefs, operating primarily as a reserve. He did start three games in 2017, however, as Steven Nelson missed the start of the year with a core muscle injury. All in all, Gaines had 30 tackles and three pass breakups last season.

The former third-round pick was in the Chiefs’ rotation throughout the year, but he did not grade out well according to the advanced metrics at Pro Football Focus. Gaines was the league’s second-worst qualified CB, per PFF, and has not earned a positive grade since his rookie season in 2014.

With the Bills, Gaines will provide depth behind starters Vontae Davis and Tre’Davious White. It seems as though he’ll take over for Leonard Johnson, who appeared in 15 games last year for Buffalo as a nickel corner but remains unsigned.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bills To Host CB Phillip Gaines

The Bills will host free-agent cornerback Phillip Gaines at some point next week, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL Network (on Twitter). Gaines visited with the Colts last week and Garafolo believes his time with the Chiefs, who took him in the third round of the 2014 draft, is coming to an end. 

Buffalo recently lost out on cornerback E.J. Gaines, who signed with the Browns on Friday. At the moment, the Bills are set to role with Vontae Davis and TreDavious White at cornerback. Even if signed, Phillip Gaines would likely serve in a nickel or reserve capacity with the Bills. He could help fill the role of Leonard Johnson, who appeared in 15 games last year for the Bills mostly as a nickel cornerback and remains unsigned as an unrestricted free agent.

The Chiefs signaled that they were likely moving on from Phillip Gaines, who was ranked as the second-worst cornerback in the league in 2016, per Pro Football Focus, after signing David Amerson and Kendall Fuller.

Phillip Gaines, 26, appeared in 41 games in four seasons with the Chiefs, making 16 starts. He ended last season on the injured reserve due to an elbow injury and missed the team’s playoff loss to the Titans.

Colts To Host CB Phillip Gaines

The Colts will host free agent cornerback Phillip Gaines on Sunday, according to Jeremy Fowler of (Twitter link).

Indianapolis recently lost top corner Rashaan Melvin to the Raiders, and the club’s defensive back depth chart is among the weakest in the NFL. At present, the Colts are projected to start Quincy Wilson and Kenny Moore at cornerback — each are 2017 rookies who offered a combined six starts worth of experience. Last season, Indy ranked dead last in Football Outsiders‘ pass defense DVOA.

Gaines, 26, is a former third-round pick who appeared in 41 games with the Chiefs over the past three seasons. Typically a slot corner, Gaines graded as the second-worst CB in the NFL a season ago, per Pro Football Focus. He’s unlikely to return to Kansas City after the club added David Amerson and Kendall Fuller, but he’d offer familiarity in Indianapolis, where former Chiefs executive Chris Ballard is now general manager.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Chiefs Place CB Phillip Gaines On IR

The Chiefs announced that they have placed cornerback Phillip Gaines on injured reserve. This means that Gaines will not be in action for Saturday’s Wild Card game against the Titans or any other potential playoff games. Phillip Gaines (vertical)

Gaines saw a good amount of time to start the season, but slipped on the depth chart as the season wore on. He did see an uptick in playing time in Week 17, but the Chiefs are not willing to keep him on the roster while they wait to see how his elbow heals. Without Gaines, the Chiefs will move forward with Marcus Peters, Terrance Mitchell, Steven Nelson, and Darrelle Revis, Keith Reaser, and Kenneth Acker as their cornerbacks.

To take Gaines’ place on the roster, the Chiefs have signed defensive tackle Stefan Charles. Charles did not see the field in 2017 after missing the Jaguars’ initial cut, but he was a regular for the Bills and Lions over the previous four seasons.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2017 Proven Performance Escalators

According to the NFL’s contractual bargaining agreement, players drafted in rounds three though seven are entitled to raises during the fourth year of their respective rookie contracts. The pay bumps are tied to playing time — a player must have played in 35% of his team’s offensive or defensive snaps in two of his first three seasons, or averaged 35% playing time cumulatively during that period.Donte Moncrief (Vertical)

If one of these thresholds is met, the player’s salary is elevated to the level of that year’s lowest restricted free agent tender — that figure should be around $1.8MM in 2017. Players selected in the first or second round, undrafted free agents, and kickers/punters are ineligible for the proven performance escalator.

Here are the players who will see their salary rise in 2017 courtesy of the proven performance escalator:

49ers: Aaron Lynch, LB; Marcus Martin, OL

Bears: Charles Leno, T; Will Sutton, DT

Bengals: Russell Bodine, C

Bills: Preston Brown, LB; Seantrel Henderson, T

Broncos: Michael Schofield, OL

Browns: Christian Kirksey, LB

Buccaneers: Kevin Pamphile, G

Cardinals: John Brown, WR

Chiefs: Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, G; Zach Fulton, G; Phillip Gaines, CB

Colts: Donte Moncrief, WR

Cowboys: Anthony Hitchens, LB

Falcons: Devonta Freeman, RB

Giants: Devon Kennard, LB

Jaguars: Aaron Colvin, CB; Brandon Linder, G; Telvin Smith, LB

Lions: Nevin Lawson, CB; Travis Swanson, C

Packers: Corey Linsley, C; Richard Rodgers, TE

Panthers: Tre Boston, S; Trai Turner, G

Raiders: T.J. Carrie, CB; Justin Ellis, DT; Gabe Jackson, G

Rams: Maurice Alexander, S; E.J. Gaines, CB

Redskins: Bashaud Breeland, CB; Spencer Long, G; Morgan Moses, T

Texans: C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE; Andre Hal, S

Titans: DaQuan Jones, DL; Avery Williamson, LB

Vikings: Shamar Stephen, DT

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.