Breaking down E.J. Gaines and his potential replacements

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images) /

Dontae Johnson

Career Stats: 158 tackles, 2 INTs

2017 Stats: 77 tackles, 1 INT

26 years old, 4th NFL season

4th rd pick – North Carolina State

Johnson will be considerably cheaper than Gaines will be. This is the attraction for Brandon Beane.

This past season for the 49ers, Johnson got a serious uptick in defensive starts from his previous seasons. He would add a veteran presence to the locker room, and be able to recreate a lot of the traits that Gaines provided the Bills.

With 77 tackles last year, he was clearly a willing tackler. Or the only tackler on the 49ers. What he lacks is the turnover potential. The No. 2 cornerback spot for Buffalo will be thrown at a lot with White on the other side. Johnson, or any player, will need to tackle well and get plenty of opportunities for turnovers.

While Johnson may lack some of the ball skills Gaines provides, he has played in every game except one since he entered the league. Does the durability factor account for what he lacks versus Gaines?

I would like the Bills to take a run at Johnson, even if they choose to keep Gaines. Johnson will play special teams, and can step into either cornerback role. The problem for the Bills is whether the 49ers even let Johnson enter the open market come March.

TJ Carrie

Career Stats: 205 tackles, 4 forced fumbles, 3 INTs

2017 Stats: 84 tackles

27 years old, 4th NFL season

7th round pick – Ohio University

Carrie will fit the same criteria as Johnson. He will be cheaper for Beane, a willing tackler for McDermott, and a special teams contributor.

Are these options seeming underwhelming? Fantastic! The Bills aren’t going to break the bank on their fourth secondary member. They are looking for complementary pieces. If they lose their best tackler in Gaines, they will want a replacement tackler. Carrie had 84 tackles last season alone, he fits the bill (pun intended).

The other thing this should tell you is that there were some really good cornerbacks in the 2014 draft.

The Bills can offer Carrie a chance to start. He may be available as the Raiders are switching coaches, and you really can’t tell how attached they are to Carrie. Their loss may be the Bills gain, as the Bills can give Carrie a short-term deal to potentially gamble on himself for a larger contract later on.