Stefon Diggs

WR Rumors: Diggs, Texans, Panthers, Hamler

Week 10’s VikingsBills thriller featured Stefon Diggs‘ first game against his former team. The 2020 trade that sent Diggs to Buffalo and a compensation package headlined by a first-round pick (Justin Jefferson) to Minnesota became one of the great win-win trades in modern NFL history. Diggs voicing his frustration about the Vikings’ run-heavy offense in 2019 led to Bills interest, laying the groundwork for the 2020 swap. Diggs requested a trade in October 2019, but after meetings with Vikings brass, the sides agreed to shelve the matter until 2020, Tim Graham of The Athletic reports (subscription required).

After a season in which Diggs drew just 94 targets in 15 games, the Vikings worked with the wideout’s agent to find a fit. The Jets and Patriots reached out, and Graham adds the Texans were in the mix as well. A Texans trade would have been interesting, considering they ended up trading DeAndre Hopkins on the same day Diggs was ultimately dealt. Houston ended up acquiring Brandin Cooks later that spring. Diggs did not ask for a new contract from the Bills immediately. His camp worried an extension request upon arrival would scuttle a potential deal, Graham adds, but the Bills understood money needed to be moved to accommodate the trade asset. Buffalo did so later that summer. Diggs ended up playing two years on his 2018 Vikings-constructed deal before inking a four-year, $96MM Bills pact this offseason.

Both Diggs and Jefferson are 2-for-2 in Pro Bowls since the trade, with both heading toward more accolades this year. Jefferson will be eligible for a monster extension in 2023. Here is the latest from the NFL’s receiver landscape:

  • Although the Texans used their No. 1 waiver spot to claim Amari Rodgers on Wednesday, Field Yates of notes (via Twitter) the Panthers also submitted a claim. The Panthers have D.J. Moore and Terrace Marshall signed to long-term deals but recently changed up their receiver situation by trading Robbie Anderson. Houston now has Rodgers, a 2021 third-round pick whom the Packers cut this week, signed through 2024.
  • Injury problems have hindered the Broncos throughout the season, and their receiver situation — one already affected by Tim Patrick‘s training camp ACL tear — took another hit last week when KJ Hamler went down in practice. Hamler’s hamstring injury sidelined him for Denver’s Week 10 game, and Nathaniel Hackett said (via’s Adam Schefter, on Twitter) the third-year wideout is expected to miss “a few” more weeks due to the injury. A former second-round pick, Hamler is coming off a season marred by an ACL tear and a hip injury. The young deep threat drew interest at the trade deadline, but the Broncos opted to stand pat at receiver. Hamler has just seven catches for 165 yards this season.
  • Conversely, Jerry Jeudy is believed to have avoided a major setback. Jeudy suffered an ankle injury early in the Broncos’ Week 10 loss to the Titans; he was carted off the field. But the Broncos believe the former first-round pick dodged a bullet, per Jeremy Fowler of, who notes Jeudy could return this week. Jeudy, who also left a Week 2 game due to an ankle injury before returning in Week 3, has 30 receptions for 449 yards this season.

Bills Extend Stefon Diggs

Stefon Diggs is staying put. On Wednesday morning, the Bills wide receiver agreed to a brand new four-year, $96MM deal that could be worth more through incentives (Twitter link via’s Ian Rapoport). 

[RELATED: Bills Re-Sign McKenzie]

Diggs was previously on the five-year, $72MM deal he signed with the Vikings in 2018. That deal gave him an average annual value of $14.4MM per season. Since then, however, the market has advanced quite a bit and Diggs has stepped his game up. Since arriving in Buffalo in 2020, Diggs has notched 230 receptions for 2,760 yards and 18 touchdowns.

Since Diggs still has two years to go on his old contract, this new deal will keep him in Western New York through 2027. While he’s slotted 21st among all NFL players in AAV right now, the new money average vaults him much higher, in the same space as Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill. From GM Brandon Beane‘s perspective, it’s a worthwhile investment.

He’s all in on winning and, sure, everybody wants to be paid but he wants to be on a winning team,” Beane said. “I think he’s been the best version of himself. So I don’t see that being an issue.”

Diggs, 28, has notched four straight 1,000-yard seasons, including 2020 when he finished with 127 grabs for 1,535 yards and eight touchdowns. Last year, he kept up the good work with 103 catches for 1,225 yards and ten TDs.

As an added bonus for the Bills, the new deal will lower Diggs’ 2022 cap number by over $6MM, as Field Yates of tweets.

Bills Not Concerned Over Stefon Diggs’ Contract

The Bills’ wide receiver room has seen some turnover this offseason, but the player at the top of the depth chart remains in place. Stefon Diggs has two years remaining on his current contract, the relative value of which has changed dramatically given the recent extensions handed out to the likes of Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill

As noted by Pro Football Talk’s Michael David Smith, however, Bills general manager Brandon Beane isn’t concerned with the 28-year-old’s financial status. Diggs signed a five-year, $72MM extension with the Vikings ahead of the 2018 season, good for an annual average of $14.4MM per season. Especially considering his production since being traded to Buffalo in 2020 (230 catches, 2,760 yards, 18 touchdowns), that figure pales in comparison to those of other receivers at the top of the position’s market.

Diggs’ current deal places him 21st in the league in terms of compensation per annum. The new contracts signed by not only Adams and Hill, but also the likes of D.J. Moore, Chris Godwin and Allen Robinson have drastically elevated the value of All-Pro receivers such as Diggs. As Smith notes, however, Beane “doesn’t believe there’s any concern that Diggs is unhappy” regarding a potential new deal.

“At the right time we’ll work with his reps and see if there’s something to be done that works for him”, Beane said. “He’s all in on winning and, sure, everybody wants to be paid but he wants to be on a winning team. I think he’s been the best version of himself. So I don’t see that being an issue.”

Another reason Diggs may be in line for an extension soon is the difference between his salary and cap hit. As a result of a restructure from last year, he is scheduled to count roughly $18MM against the cap for the two remaining years on his deal. In any event, there doesn’t appear to be much urgency or cause for concern to prolong his stay in Buffalo.

Bills Re-Sign WR Isaiah McKenzie

The Bills have agreed to terms on a new two-year contract with wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. The deal is reportedly worth $8MM, the biggest payday McKenzie has seen in his five-year career. 

McKenzie was picked up by the Bills off waivers after being waived by the Broncos, who drafted him in the 5th round of the 2017 NFL Draft. After finishing out that initial contract in Buffalo, he rode out two one-year deals in 2020 and 2021 worth around $1MM each.

His first year in Buffalo saw him used as the primary kick returner and a bit of a gadget player on offense, receiving and helping out in the rushing game after injuries to running backs LeSean McCoy and Chris Ivory. In his first full season as a Bill, his returner role was diminished with the addition of Andre Roberts, but he continued as a special teamer and gadget player, even contributing in Week 17 as a reserve cornerback.

After re-signing on his first one-year deal in Buffalo, McKenzie saw his most productive season in 2020. McKenzie saw career highs in receptions (30), receiving yards (282), and receiving touchdowns (5). He also recorded his first special teams touchdown on an 84-yard punt return.

The 2021 NFL season didn’t see a large change in McKenzie’s offensive production, but he re-cemented his role as the team’s return specialist, which appears to be the basis for his new contract. McKenzie did see his role on the offense increase a bit when Cole Beasley missed time due to COVID-19.

With star-receiver Stefon Diggs and Beasley set to return, along with Gabriel Davis who emerged as the team’s third receiver for the future, this signing gives the Bills a solid one through four in their receiving corps, with McKenzie set to continue handling return duties.

Bills, Stefon Diggs Rework Contract

The Bills converted $11.7MM of Stefon Diggs‘ base salary into a signing bonus (Twitter link via’s Field Yates). In turn, the Bills now have $7.8MM in extra cap space for 2021, though that amount will be pushed onto the 2022 books. 

[RELATED: Bills Make Reid Ferguson Top-Paid LS]

The Vikings signed Diggs to a five-year, $72MM extension in July 2018. However, Diggs’ $14.4MM-per-year salary was too much for Minnesota given their cap crunch. The Bills traded for him last year, surrendering a first-round pick in the swap. The Bills’ thrilling run to the AFC Championship Game probably wouldn’t have happened without Diggs, one of the league’s most exciting wide receivers.

The Bills gave Diggs a small pay bump/advance on his money upon acquiring him, so he was happy to reciprocate this week. Despite all the changes, he remains locked up through 2023 on a manageable contract. Diggs, who won’t turn 28 until November, registered 127 catches and 1,535 receiving yards last year to lead the NFL.

AFC East Notes: Diggs, Patriots, Jets

Cole Beasley gutted through a tough injury in the playoffs with his broken fibula, and he wasn’t the only Bills receiver to do so. Buffalo star Stefon Diggs recently revealed he had a torn oblique that he played through at the end of the season, as Ryan Talbot of writes. Diggs was on the injury report with an oblique issue late in the year, but the team was intentionally vague about what was wrong with him.

Now we know, and it makes Diggs’ playoff performances even more impressive. He shined during the postseason, going for at least 106 yards and a touchdown in each of the Bills’ wins over the Colts and Ravens. It’s a pretty significant injury, but obviously it shouldn’t effect Diggs in 2021.

Here are a couple other nuggets from around the AFC East:

  • James White ended up back with the Patriots on a one-year, $2.5MM deal after testing the free agent waters, and it sounds like he was anticipating a bit more. After hearing White talk to the media this week, Mike Reiss of writes that it “seems fair to say free agency didn’t unfold the way he might have envisioned.” In describing his “soft market,” Reiss says White highlighted the league’s salary cap crunch as a result of COVID-19. He adds it “sounded like that was the best offer,” the pass-catching specialist received, so he didn’t take any discount to play for Bill Belichick again.
  • The Jets just drafted Jamien Sherwood in the fifth-round, and he could be set to make a bigger impact than your typical fifth-round rookie. Sherwood was a linebacker/safety hybrid prospect, but Rich Cimini of writes that the Jets “see him as an ideal fit as a weakside linebacker in their 4-3 front” and that “there’s some thought he could emerge as the starter.” Cimini says Sherwood’s draft stock was hurt by the fact that he ran a disappointing 4.74 40-yard dash at his pro day. Sherwood only became a full-time starter for Auburn this past season, his junior campaign, so it’ll be a big leap if he becomes an NFL starter right away.

Patriots Were Finalists For Stefon Diggs

The Bills’ thrilling run to the AFC Championship Game almost never happened. It’s unlikely Buffalo would’ve made it this far without Stefon Diggs, and they apparently came very close to losing him to a division rival.

Diggs was very nearly traded to the Patriots this past offseason, Ian Rapoport of reports. We had heard back in March that the Pats had expressed some interest, but we didn’t know how close they came until now. Rapoport writes that Buffalo and New England were the two finalists, and that the Vikings gave the Patriots a chance to match the Bills’ last offer.

Bill Belichick declined, and the rest is history. Interestingly, Rapoport adds that Minnesota never intended to trade the star wideout, “but had a number in mind of what it would take if it did.” He also writes that the Bills first tried trading for Diggs at the 2019 trade deadline but were rebuffed.

It’s fun to think about what would’ve happened had Belichick landed the top wideout. Diggs was ultimately traded on March 16th, the day before Tom Brady announced he’d be leaving New England. It’s unlikely that would’ve convinced Brady to stay as it seems his mind had been made up, but it would’ve at least given Cam Newton and the passing game a real viable threat in 2020.

Bills Adjust Stefon Diggs’ Contract

Four years remain on Stefon Diggs‘ contract, and the extension the former Vikings wideout agreed to in 2018 now profiles as a Bills-friendly deal. Buffalo, however, worked out an agreement that will pay Diggs more in 2020.

The Bills adjusted Diggs’ contract, with the main change being a $3.3MM 2020 bump, per Mike Garafolo of (on Twitter). Diggs will also see his 2021 guarantee spike by $7.7MM, with Garafolo adding that number now sits at $11MM. In tweaking Diggs’ deal, the Bills also decreased the contract’s 2022 and ’23 cash payouts by $3MM.

This restructure was not a Bills decision to help convince Diggs not to opt out this season, Garafolo adds (via Twitter), noting it came to pass in March shortly after Buffalo acquired Diggs from Minnesota.

Diggs said Wednesday he is not demanding a new deal from the Bills, indicating there is “no rush” on that at this point, per the Buffalo News’ Jay Skurski (on Twitter). It should be expected the Bills and Diggs will agree to a new contract at some point, but this adjustment may help delay that. The Bills saw $5.25MM in additional cap room open up after defensive tackle Star Lotulelei‘s opt-out decision.

The Vikings signed Diggs to a five-year, $72MM extension in July 2018. However, Diggs’ $14.4MM-per-year salary now ranks 13th among receivers. The Bills acquired Diggs for a trade package headlined by a first-round pick. Given the importance Diggs will play in the development of Buffalo franchise centerpiece Josh Allen, the sides will presumably huddle up about an extension in the not-too-distant future. For now, though, the Bills have their new No. 1 wide receiver locked up through 2023 on a manageable contract.

Zimmer: Plan Was Not To Trade Stefon Diggs

The Vikings’ starting lineup will look considerably different this season. After the team kept signing its core members to extensions over the past few offseasons, it dismantled some of that nucleus this year. While the exits of Xavier Rhodes, Linval Joseph and Trae Waynes were noticeable, none of Minnesota’s moves registered like the Stefon Diggs deal.

Diggs is Buffalo-bound after the Vikings traded him for a package of picks headlined by this year’s No. 22 overall selection, which became LSU wideout Justin Jefferson. Despite entering another offseason near the salary cap, and with Diggs having created some distractions during his Twin Cities stay, Mike Zimmer said the team was not intent on trading its talented wideout.

Honestly, Diggs did not have to go,” Zimmer said during an appearance on The Rich Eisen Show (via “We really didn’t have any intention of trading him. Quite honestly, he put out a couple tweets, and there were some things going on there. But Stefon worked extremely hard. He practices like crazy. He wants the ball — like all receivers do.

Really, what happened was, Buffalo came in and gave us all those picks. And we were up against it in the salary cap. So we just felt like we could save some money, get a bunch of picks, maybe get a young receiver like (Jefferson) that we got. So, I wish him well. He’s a good kid. He worked hard for me.”

The Bills sent the Vikings 2020 first-, fifth- and sixth-round picks and a 2021 fourth-rounder for Diggs, who is signed to a $14.4MM-per-year deal through 2023. This haul ended up being similar to the one the Seahawks sent the Vikings for Percy Harvin seven years ago. Seattle dealt first-, third- and seventh-rounders for Harvin in 2013, and the Vikings used the top pick to draft Rhodes. This time, Minnesota used the top acquired asset to fill the void created by the receiver trade, and Jefferson will be tasked with filling Diggs’ spot alongside Adam Thielen.

Buffalo discussed Diggs with Minnesota before last year’s trade deadline, and the Vikings were believed to have softened their asking price when the teams talked again in March. Diggs missed practices last season and was believed to be dissatisfied with his role, leading to trade rumors. This and Diggs’ pre-trade tweets suggesting he was not long for Minnesota notwithstanding, Zimmer did not characterize the five-year Viking as a major problem.

Really, if you said somebody was a pain in the butt, you probably wouldn’t say him,” Zimmer said. “I’ve been around way worse guys than him. I hope he has a great career and finishes up strong.”

NFC North Notes: Lions, Gronk, Vikes, Bears

The Vikings broke up their years-long receiver tandem of Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, shipping the latter to Buffalo for a package of picks. While the Vikings did not collect quite the haul they did for Percy Harvin seven years ago, Rick Spielman called it a business opportunity that benefited both Diggs and the Vikings (Twitter link via the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Ben Goessling). Spielman said he did not intend to trade Diggs when he last spoke at the Combine, but the Bills’ offer of a first-round pick and three Day 3 choices — including a 2021 fourth-rounder — was too enticing to pass up. The Bills also upped their offer from their previous one, which occurred before the 2019 deadline. The Vikings now hold the Nos. 22 and 25 overall picks in a receiver-loaded draft, and they now have a massive need at the position.

Here is the latest from the NFC North:

  • Two years ago, the Lions nearly traded for Rob Gronkowski. Now that a team has actually swung a trade for the dominant tight end, Adam Schefter of provided the details (via Twitter) on the disparities between the Buccaneers and Lions’ offers. They are stark. The Lions offered the Pats their 2018 first-rounder (No. 20 overall) and were set to swap picks in the second round (dropping from No. 43 to 51) before the then-29-year-old tight end nixed the deal by threatening to retire. The Lions ended up picking Frank Ragnow in the first round; Gronkowski collected a third Super Bowl ring 10 months later and then retired. The Pats dealt the unretiring Gronk and a seventh-round pick to the Bucs for a fourth-rounder on Tuesday.
  • Everson Griffen remains unsigned and is “probably” gone from the Vikings, but the St. Paul Pioneer Press’ Chris Tomasson notes if Minnesota does not land a pass rusher in the draft it is not out of the question the 10-year veteran returns (Twitter link). Griffen issued a statement indicating an 11th Vikings season was not in the cards, but Tomasson indicates (via Twitter) he merely wanted to inform other teams he was available and not a lock to return to Minnesota. Griffen’s mental health episode in 2018 may well be impacting his free agency, with Tomasson tweeting teams would like to meet with him and discuss it. The 32-year-old edge defender will likely have to reassess his options after the draft.
  • Another year, another Bears kicking competition. After a very public kicker battle throughout the 2019 offseason, the Bears will hold another this year. Incumbent Eddy Pineiro will match up against lower-profile challenger Ramiz Ahmed, Ryan Pace confirmed (via the Chicago Sun-Times’ Jason Lieser). The Bears signed Ahmed, who kicked at Nevada for one season and has yet to kick in an NFL game, last week but had their eye on him as a UDFA last year. A late addition last summer, Pineiro made 23 of 28 field goals with the Bears last season.