Nickel cornerback is essentially a starting position on the Bills' defense. Leonard Johnson, the defensive back responsible for covering the slot receiver on last year's Buffalo Bills, played 60.7 percent of defensive snaps and started seven of the 15 regular-season games in which he played.
Johnson did not re-sign with the Bills this offseason, creating a void in the Bills' secondary (Johnson remains a free agent). Throughout offseason practices, Phillip Gaines has been the starting nickel cornerback ahead of fourth-round pick Taron Johnson, Jay Skurski reported.
Gaines, 27, signed a one-year deal with the Bills this offseason after spending four years with the Chiefs. His contract pays a base salary of $790,000 (which is the veteran minimum for a player of his experience) but carries a cap hit of only $675,000 thanks to the minimum salary benefit rule, which only charges teams the two-year minimum salary when signing veterans of four or more years. The rule basically gives teams incentive not to discard veterans for cheaper, younger players.
Rebuilding Bills’ offensive line continues to be a work in progress: The Bills lost two key members of their offensive line, if you haven't heard. That's not good. Players are aware of the situation facing them. "I’d be lying if I told you it didn’t matter,” running back LeSean McCoy said. “Some people might say that to kind of nip it in the bud and get it out of the way, but those guys are great players."
Full schedule: Bills 2018 training camp: Coach Orion told his players in "D3: The Mighty Ducks" that they'd have to get up early if they wanted to hunt goose eggs, or shutouts. Bills coach Sean McDermott, a noted morning person, appears to subscribe to that philosophy. Most of the Bills' training camp practices at St. John Fisher College start early.
What They Said: Go through the press conference transcript of McDermott, McCoy, AJ McCarron, Nathan Peterman and Josh Allen on the start of minicamp.
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