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[BN] Blitz newsletter: These players could replace Leonard Johnson on defense

As offenses utilize more and more three-receiver sets, slot cornerback has become an increasingly important position for NFL defenses.

Two players who could fill that role on this year's Bills are Phillip Gaines and Taron Johnson, Jay Skurski wrote. Gaines is a four-year vet and a former third-round pick of the Chiefs. Johnson was a fourth-round selection in this year's draft.

Coach Sean McDermott has warned against reading too deeply into offseason lineups, but for what it's worth, Gaines played with the starting unit during the Bills' recent offseason practices.

"Especially in today's game, there’s so much '11' personnel (one tight end and one running back), a lot of fast receivers on the field," Gaines said. "You always have to be ready. Each team has different personnel. Some go big with tight ends, others have a lot of speed receivers. You've just got to take it week by week."

Leonard Johnson, who played in the slot last season for the Bills, is a free agent who remains unsigned. Gaines is on a one-year deal that pays him the veteran minimum; his contract status was discussed in a previous newsletter.

When does training camp start? Good question. We're now into the slowest part of the NFL calendar. Here's the full training camp schedule.




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