E.J. Gaines

Jake Butt, E.J. Gaines, Mike Pennel At Bears’ Minicamp On Tryout Basis

The Bears have invited some well-known guests to their minicamp. They are working out five players — including tight end Jake Butt, cornerback E.J. Gaines and defensive tackle Mike Pennel — at their three-day mandatory session, Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune tweets.

This marks Butt’s second known workout of the offseason. The Michigan alum auditioned for the Cardinals recently. Although Butt starred for the Wolverines not that long ago, he has battled rampant injury trouble as a pro. The former Broncos draftee now has three career ACL tears, two coming in Denver, and has played in just eight games in four seasons.

Mixed signals have come out of Chicago regarding the team’s interest in adding a veteran cornerback. The Bears were believed to be interested in Bashaud Breeland, but he signed with the Vikings, and had Steven Nelson on the radar. But new DC Sean Desai also expressed confidence in his in-house cover men. Gaines has 38 career starts but has not played in a game since the 2018 season. The former Rams draftee opted out in 2020.

Pennel leads this group in experience. The veteran interior D-lineman spent the past two years with the Chiefs, making an impact for the two-time reigning AFC champions’ run defense. Pennel, 30, played 14 games with Kansas City last season. The former Packers and Jets defender has played seven NFL seasons.

The Bears are also working out two players who recently participated in The Spring League — tight end Sal Cannella and Tyrone Wheatley Jr. The team lists Wheatley as an offensive lineman, though the second-generation NFL hopeful played tight end at Michigan — as one of Butt’s backups — and Stony Brook. Chicago’s minicamp is scheduled to run through Thursday.

Bills Waive CB E.J. Gaines

E.J. Gaines has not played in a regular-season game since the 2018 season, and it appears the veteran cornerback will need to relocate again in order to return to action in 2021.

The Bills waived Gaines on Friday, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Gaines passed on this season via a COVID-19 opt-out decision in July. While this caused his contract to toll to 2021, the Bills signed him to a veteran-minimum deal and will not take a notable financial hit because of this move.

Originally a 2014 Rams draft choice out of Mizzou, Gaines played for Buffalo in 2017. The former sixth-round pick started all 11 games he played that season. After playing in Cleveland in 2018, Gaines re-signed with the Bills in 2019. The Bills reached an injury settlement with Gaines in 2019 but brought him back again year later.

2020 NFL Opt Out Tracker

Per an agreement between the NFL and the NFLPA, players with COVID-19 health concerns can opt out of the 2020 season. Initially, the deadline was believed to be Tuesday, August 4. Talks between the league and the union have pushed it to August 6.

Chiefs guard and medical school graduate Laurent Duvernay-Tardif was the first player to officially opt out. Scores of players followed.

Here’s the rundown, so far:

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Cincinnati Bengals

Cleveland Browns

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Green Bay Packers

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

Minnesota Vikings

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Giants

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • T Brad Seaton

Tennessee Titans

  • OL Anthony McKinney

Washington Football Team

Free agents

Bills’ E.J. Gaines Opts Out Of 2020 Season

E.J. Gaines has opted out of the 2020 season, according to Bills GM Brandon Beane (Twitter link via Kim Jones of NFL.com). Gaines was set to play on his third Buffalo contract after rejoining the team in March. Now, the cornerback will have to wait until 2021 to make his return.

[RELATED: Bills Host DB Akeem King On Visit]

Gaines first hooked on with the Bills in 2017 and showed serious promise. He finished out as Pro Football Focus‘ No. 12 ranked cornerback and placed ninth in Football Outsiders’ success rate, despite being limited to just eleven games. He moved on to the Bills and, once again, he was bitten by the injury bug, seeing time in just six games in 2018. Gaines went back to Buffalo in 2019, only to reach an injury settlement with the team in August. Gaines has been in the league since 2014, but he’s appeared in just 43 games across four seasons.

This year, the 28-year-old was set to backstop Josh Norman and Tre’Davious White. Now, the Bills could use another CB, hence their recent meeting with former Seahawks defensive back Akeem King.

Upwards of 30 players have chosen to opt out of the 2020 season, as shown in PFR’s tracker. Meanwhile, the deadline date remains TBD.

Bills To Bring Back CB E.J. Gaines

E.J. Gaines has signed on for a third stint with the Bills. Buffalo and the veteran cornerback agreed to terms on a one-year deal Thursday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

The former Rams draft choice played for the Bills in 2017 and re-signed with Buffalo last year. But an injury derailed those plans, and the Bills reached an injury settlement with Gaines in August. He did not land with another team last season.

This signing comes a year and a day after the last time Gaines agreed to join the Bills for a second time. He is hoping to rebound after multiple injury-marred seasons. A midseason malady also cut his 2018 Browns stay short. This will be Gaines’ age-28 season, so if he’s healthy, he should have a decent chance to make the Bills’ regular-season roster and contribute.

Gaines will join Josh Norman as incoming Bills corners eyeing spots alongside Tre’Davious White. Youngsters Levi Wallace, Taron Johnson and Siran Neal will also be in that mix. The Bills lost Kevin Johnson to the Browns earlier in free agency.

Although he has only played in six games since his 2017 Bills run, Gaines started 11 games with Buffalo in his first stay there. Gaines suffered a concussion during his 2018 Cleveland season, which ended in November 2018.

NFL Workout Updates: 11/4/19

Today’s notes from around the workout circuit:

Buffalo Bills

Cleveland Browns

Indianapolis Colts

Oakland Raiders

Colts Workout CBs Kayvon Webster, E.J. Gaines

The Colts are apparently thinking about bringing in an experienced cornerback. Indianapolis worked out veteran corners E.J. Gaines and Kayvon Webster, according to Adam Caplan of Sirius XM (Twitter link).

Starting cornerback Pierre Desir has missed the past two games with a hamstring injury, so perhaps that is why they’re looking for reinforcements. Wesbter entered the league as a third-round pick of the Broncos back in 2013, and he won Super Bowl 50 with the team. He signed with the Rams in 2017 and was a starter for them before tearing his Achilles late in the season. After recovering he signed with the Texans last year, but barely played due to more injuries.

Webster latched on with the Saints earlier this year but was released at final cuts, as all the injuries appear to have sapped some of the 28-year-old’s effectiveness. He’s received a little bit of interest, and just worked out for New Orleans again a couple of weeks ago. Gaines is another player who used to be highly thought of before injuries derailed his career. Gaines was traded from the Rams to the Bills in the Sammy Watkins trade, and ended up starting all 11 games that he appeared in for Buffalo in 2017.

After multiple concussions landed him on injured reserve during his time with the Browns last year, he re-signed with the Bills this past offseason. He was cut in camp after going down with a core muscle injury. He’s been making the workout rounds recently, and we just heard a couple of weeks ago that he was now fully healthy after meeting with the Texans.

New York Notes: Bell, Jets, Williams, Giants

On what turned out to be a slow deadline day, the Jets’ negotiations involving Jamal Adams turned out to be the top story. But more came out of New York this week. Here is the latest on the Jets and Giants, beginning with a key Jet that was not dealt:

  • Douglas says he did not shop Le’Veon Bell, but the first-year Jets GM did admit that he listened to offers for both stars (Twitter link via Brian Costello of the New York Post). The Jets were rumored to be shopping Anderson, and Adam Schefter of ESPN said during a Tuesday TV appearance the team was asking for a second-round for the contract-year wideout. Both Bell and Anderson are set to finish the season with the Jets.
  • The Jets‘ trade talks with the Giants started weeks ago, Douglas says (Twitter link via Manish Mehta of the Daily News). Remarkably, they managed to keep the rumors away from the New York tabloids before they pulled the trigger on the historic deal that sent Leonard Williams to the G-Men.
  • The Giants will obviously try to lock up Williams beyond his current deal, but no one can really agree on his value, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY writes. Some have speculated that Williams could land ~$100MM based on his age and potential. Others, meanwhile, think he’s looking at something closer to a deal worth $10-$12MM on an average annual basis. When and if a deal gets done, it could very well land in the middle, Vacchiano hears from execs, with a five-year, $75MM deal with about $20MM guaranteed.
  • Moving back to non-trade business, the Jets worked out a few notable veterans on Tuesday. Cornerbacks Trevor Williams and E.J. Gaines auditioned for Gang Green, with Adam Caplan of Sirius XM Radio noting (via Twitter) linebacker Ramik Wilson did as well. Williams has been with both the Cardinals and Chargers this year, while the Bills released Gaines via August injury settlement. A member of the Rams’ 2018 NFC champion squad, Wilson spent time with the Jaguars and Cards this year.

NFL Workout Updates: 10/22/19

Here is Tuesday’s summary from the workout circuit:

Atlanta Falcons

Chicago Bears

Houston Texans

Jacksonville Jaguars

Los Angeles Chargers

New England Patriots

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

Seattle Seahawks

Texans Meet With E.J. Gaines

The Texans will meet with cornerback E.J. Gaines on Tuesday afternoon, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears. Gaines, who has 38 starts to his credit, is finally healthy and ready to play. 

[RELATED: Texans Acquire Conley From Raiders]

Gaines returned to the Bills for a second stint in March with a one-year, $2.1MM deal, but his Buffalo return didn’t work out. In August, they were forced to place him on IR with a groin injury.

He started 11 games with the 2017 Bills and was a first-stringer in the team’s wild-card game. Gaines signed with the Browns last season but only played in six games, landing on IR there as well. For his career, the 27-year-old has made 38 career starts. The majority of those starts (25) came with the Rams.

The Texans just recently bolstered their CB group by trading a third-round choice to the Raiders for Gareon Conley. Conley is there to help fill the void left by Bradley Roby and Phillip Gaines’ injuries. The team may also be in store for and a lengthy Johnathan Joseph absence, so a vet like E.J. Gaines would be valuable.

Worth noting: The Texans also showed interest in Gaines during the 2018 offseason, before he signed with the Browns.