The Buffalo Bills continue to make moves, some at times, questionable. The Bills recently re-signed WR Kaelin Clay and signed CB Phillip Gaines and DE Terrence Fede. As the front office continues to turn over every stone in order to find those players that can help build long term success; I suppose every stone does not reveal a prize. Today’s post will assess these recent signings and their injury histories.
First up is WR Kaelin Clay. As you may recall, Clay had a short stint in Buffalo at the beginning of the season before being released and went back to Carolina. During his time here, Clay suffered foot and back injuries which slowed his production. While he is not an elite WR talent, he still provides depth and impact in the return game. Looking at the rest of his career, he has also spent time in Baltimore and Carolina. The 3rd year pro has only appeared on the injury report in 2017 with a shoulder injury which he did not miss any time. I suspect that the front office may be reassessing players who they have a known history with to find where they fit best.
However, the signing of CB Phillip Gaines is questionable in my opinion. During his 2017 season, Gaines was rated as one of the worst corners in the NFL and has only started a season’s worth of games during his career. In addition to subpar play, he also has an extensive injury history. Starting in 2014, he suffered a concussion, injuries to his quadriceps and ankle before suffering another concussion which forced him to miss the last 3 games.
2015 was no better to the 4th year pro as he suffered a torn ACL during a Week 3 tilt against the Green Bay Packers. This forced him to miss the entire season and return to form for 2016. Unfortunately, 2016 saw Gaines miss several games due to possible re-aggravation of his surgically repaired knee forcing him to miss a total of 5 games spread out over the entire season. 2017 saw him have his best season injury wise until he missed the final game of the regular season and the playoff loss to the Chiefs with a dislocated elbow. Thankfully, dislocated elbows are not severe in regards to recovery and will not have any setbacks come this season.
Finally, the Bills signed DE Terrence Fede from the Miami Dolphins to a one year contract. Fede will be added to the suddenly deep DE rotation that the front office has been addressing all off season. As for injuries, the 4th year pro has been relatively healthy during his time in the league. Fede has missed the first 3 games of his rookie year with a knee injury sustained in the preseason in 2014. The 2015 season saw him avoid injury along with 2016 with the exception of a knee injury which forced him to miss the first game. 2017 saw no missed time but saw Fede sustain a shoulder injury along with another knee injury late in the season. As injury reports do not specify which knee was injured, I cannot speculate whether these were acute or chronic complaints or what specific injuries he had at the time.
Overall, Fede has been relatively healthy during his time in the league which will help for availability and help keep the starters fresh. The overall trend for Beane & McDermott is to sign a player that promotes availability over skill. While it is rather difficult if not impossible to obtain a starting caliber player to play in a reserve role, this past season demonstrated how effective depth is to a winning football team.
As a medical professional, I like the Fede signing, I am indifferent on Clay, and I do not like the Gaines acquisition. While none of these recent signings are guaranteed to make the starting roster, the past medical issues may impact their long term effectiveness, specifically Gaines. I have found that many players deal with injury early on in their careers which force them to either take care of their bodies or they end their careers prematurely.
Continue to check back at Banged Up Bills for the latest Buffalo Bills signings, news, updates, and analysis. Follow Banged Up Bills on Facebook and at Twitter @BangedUpBills. As always, thank you for reading and GO BILLS!!