Bills Trade WR Stefon Diggs To Texans

The Stefon Diggs era in Buffalo will end after four seasons. The AFC East champions are trading the star wide receiver to the Texans, Adam Schefter of reports. Both teams have since announced the trade.

The Bills will receive a 2025 second-round pick, according to Schefter, who adds the Texans will pick up Diggs, a 2025 fifth-round pick and a 2024 sixth. This will bring a decorated but mercurial period to a close for the Bills and Diggs. The 2025 second-rounder originally belonged to the Vikings, who packaged it in a deal to acquire the Texans’ No. 23 overall pick this year.

[RELATED: Texans’ Offer Changed Bills’ Stefon Diggs Plan]

It will also arm C.J. Stroud with a high-end weapon. With Stroud on a rookie contract, the Texans are bringing in one of the NFL’s most lucrative receiver deals. This move comes after the Texans had considered trading for Keenan Allen. Both high-end wideouts have six 1,000-yard seasons on their respective resumes, but Diggs — at 30 — is more than a year younger.

This, of course, marks the second time Diggs has been dealt in his career. The first such trade changed the Bills’ trajectory. Josh Allen‘s path to stardom reached a clear pivot point when the Bills acquired Diggs during the 2020 offseason. They landed the five-year Vikings wideout for a package headlined by a first-round selection. With Diggs set to turn 31 later this year and tied to a big-ticket contract, his price tag dropped.

Buffalo kept Diggs on his Minnesota-constructed contract for two seasons but handed out a four-year, $96MM deal during the 2022 offseason. Four years remain on that contract. While Diggs’ deal sits fifth in terms of wide receiver AAV, the Texans do not have too much money allocated to their skill positions. Diggs’ contract will overlap with Tank Dell and Nico Collins‘ rookie pacts. In clear rebuilding mode to start Nick Caserio‘s GM tenure, the Texans went into last year without any payment north of $7MM at the skill positions. They have now re-signed Dalton Schultz (three years, $36MM) and signed up to add Diggs, who will join Joe Mixon as a trade pickup in Houston.

For Buffalo, this will certainly mark a sea change. Diggs ripped off four straight 1,100-plus-yard seasons with the Bills. That included two 1,400-yard years. The elite route runner gave the Bills a bona fide No. 1 target after they had lacked one for the better part of the 21st century. The addition rocketed Allen onto the superstar tier. The Bills ventured to the AFC championship game in Diggs’ first year in New York, winning their first playoff games since 1995. Diggs, of course, was not the sole reason for Buffalo’s resurgence. But he played one of the central roles.

While the Texans are set to roll out a Diggs-Dell-Collins receiver trio, the Bills have now lost Diggs and Gabe Davis this offseason. Buffalo did add Curtis Samuel and saw Khalil Shakir make key contributions down the stretch, but it appears likely the AFC power will need to come out of the draft with a major WR pickup. Fortunately, this year brings another deep crop at the position. Considering their Super Bowl window ahead of Allen’s age-28 season, this trade certainly ramps up the pressure on the Sean McDermottBrandon Beane duo.

Diggs’ Bills relationship both traversed rocky terrain and ended on a low note. A confusing situation developed at minicamp last year, with Diggs leaving the team’s facility unexpectedly. McDermott referred to the exit as an excused absence, but he also called the Diggs situation “very concerning.” Allen attempted to downplay the matter, and Diggs soon said he wanted to finish his career in Buffalo. This all came after Diggs stormed out of the Bills’ locker room and needed to be brought back following the team’s divisional-round loss to the Bengals last year. A report indicated Diggs was frustrated by his role in Buffalo’s offense, one that had consistently featured him as the lead weapon. Diggs later denied that was the case.

As last season progressed, Diggs also became a lesser part of the Bills’ offense. As the team regrouped following a 5-5 start — one that led to Ken Dorsey‘s firing and Joe Brady‘s elevation to OC — Diggs did not offer WR1-level production. Allen needed to rely on Shakir and a James Cook-powered run game to drag the Bills to their fourth straight AFC East title. Diggs finished with 1,183 yards but only eclipsed 50 in two of Buffalo’s final seven games. Diggs added a crucial drop late in the Bills’ narrow divisional-round loss to the Chiefs; he caught just three passes for 21 yards in that 27-24 defeat.

This move will also be financially punitive for the Bills. Due to signing bonus proration, the team will be hit with more than $31MM in dead money. While the second-round pick being acquired will be important, Buffalo will see this money accelerate onto its 2024 salary cap due to the deal being finalized before June 1. In terms of single-season dead cap hits, Diggs’ ranks fifth in NFL history (h/t Spotrac). For non-QBs, the $31MM hit sets a record.

Rather than restructure Diggs’ deal to create cap space, the Bills are taking on considerable pain now. That will increase an uphill battle for a Bills team that has also moved on from Mitch Morse, Jordan Poyer and Tre’Davious White this offseason. Diggs’ $18.5MM 2024 base salary is guaranteed. Beyond that, Houston has some flexibility.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Texans are spending in a way they have not under Caserio. The Bill Belichick disciple has greenlit this Diggs deal following the Schultz re-up, Mixon trade and a few defensive augmentations — headlined by the near-fully guaranteed Danielle Hunter accord. With Stroud and Will Anderson tied to rookie deals through at least 2025, the Texans are operating with urgency.

As this represents a risk for a Bills team attempting to stay near the AFC’s top tier, the dead money here certainly suggests the organization believed this relationship had run its course. The Texans are not giving up too much for the 10th-year veteran, but they are acquiring a player with some baggage — Diggs clashed with Vikings brass during his final Minnesota year as well — and one coming off an unremarkable finish to last season. Still, Diggs brings an impressive pedigree to Houston. He will now join younger brother Trevon Diggs in Texas; the Texans play both the Bills and Cowboys in 2024.

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