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2017 Rams Roster Preview: CB E.J. Gaines, The Forgotten Man

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Is 2017 Gaines’ year to stage his comeback?

NFL: Los Angeles Rams-OTA Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Rams CB E.J. Gaines’ luster has worn off a bit.

It’s easy to see how it happened. When you’ve got the CB Trumaine Johnson Franchise-Tag-Saga on one side of the field and new fan favorite (Wade Phillips favorite too?) CB Kayvon Webster on the other, things can tend to get away from you. And after missing all of the 2015 season due to a foot injury and the various lower body injuries that plagued him early last year...Gaines has a lot to prove in 2017.

That’s not even mentioning the 3-4 defensive scheme transition and the new coaching staff’s focus on an offensive revival led by new Head Coach Sean McVay.

But, Gaines is still here. And he’s motivated.

Roster Battle

I’m not saying a starting spot is up for grabs, considering the considerable hype surrounding Webster or the considerable salary of Tru. On the other end, there’s no guarantee Tru stays (or the Rams extend him) and Webster is only on a two-year contract.

But Gaines is in a contract year.

With that in mind, I expect the battle for the 2nd/3rd corner spots to be pretty intense. Not so much because they’re looking to stick around, but because the top three players at the position are all looking for their next contract, regardless of the team that gives it to them.

Expectations

Gaines struggled hard at times last year. I don’t blame him - it had been close to two years since he was on the field. Whether or not he can find his rookie form is key. He’s been back a year, which should help him get back to where he was, but some injuries just don’t ever heal 100%.

Lisfranc injuries in particular can be incredibly painful and require thorough care. It reduces stability in your foot and linger for a long time if not treated correctly, which is why Gaines was out so long.

So, while it’s rosy to think about Gaines coming back into form, I’d temper expectations to that of a rotational player and occasional starter, at least at first.

Chances of Making the Roster (8/10)

I don’t think the Rams have enough players in the secondary to start cutting guys with starting experience, but this is a team that appears comfortable letting Trumaine Johnson walk and seems pretty content in pissing off DT Aaron Donald by not giving him a contract he clearly deserves.

What I’m trying to say is...anything could happen.