The Browns added their fourth new face to a new-look secondary Friday.
Cleveland signed E.J. Gaines, a former sixth-round pick out of Missouri, who is coming off an impressive one-year stint with the Buffalo Bills. He’s the latest addition to a defensive backfield that has been already bolstered by the acquisition of Damarious Randall via trade with Green Bay and the signings of T.J. Carrie and Terrance Mitchell.
Gaines (5-10, 191) began his career with the St. Louis Rams, where he emerged as an immediate starter in a defense coordinated by Gregg Williams, who now fills the same role in Cleveland. He posted a team-best 14 passes defensed and intercepted two passes during a season in which he started 15 games. He was the NFL’s only rookie cornerback to start the first 15 games of 2014.
Gaines was sidelined for all of 2015 because of a foot injury. He started 10 of the 11 games in which he played in 2016 and was sent to Buffalo, along with a second-round pick, in a 2017 preseason trade that netted the Rams wide receiver Sammy Watkins.
Gaines started 11 games and finished his fourth season with 59 tackles, nine passes defensed, three forced fumbles and an interception.
Gaines, who hails from Independence, Missouri, is the Browns eighth unrestricted free agent signing and 11th new addition to the roster since the start of the league year.