Stefon Diggs

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 NFL.com (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.

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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 NFL.com). “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.”

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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 ESPN.com 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.

AFC East Notes: Tua, Pats, Diggs

Though Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa has most commonly been connected to the division-rival Dolphins, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe believes the stars are aligning for the Patriots to make a play for the southpaw passer. The Lions — and all of their New England connections — hold the No. 3 overall pick and will have a major impact on how the quarterback dominoes fall in this year’s draft. If Detroit trades down, as many expect, Volin suggests that New England’s No. 23 overall pick along with a mid-rounder and a veteran player like Julian Edelman could be enough to get a deal done. The Patriots’ ties with Alabama head coach Nick Saban would also help give the team a little more insight into Tagovailoa as a player and as a person.

Let’s round up a few more AFC East rumors on another stay-at-home Sunday:

  • Volin’s proposal may be a little far-fetched, but if Tagovailoa starts to slide on draft day — after all, the Dolphins may not be entirely sold on him, and Matt Miller of Bleacher Report says the 2018 Heisman runner-up is the No. 3 or 4 QB on some teams’ boards even if he is completely healthy — then the Patriots could be in play, per Doug Kyed of NESN.com.
  • One way or another, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com says the Patriots will draft a rookie signal-caller. While he does not rule out a dramatic move for a player like Tagovailoa, he also says the team could once again target a mid-round prospect and is eyeing FIU passer James Morgan.
  • WR Stefon Diggs sounded like a man who wanted out of Minnesota for awhile, and he finally got his wish when he got traded to the Bills in March. However, his displeasure with the Vikings had more to do with his role in the offense than his contract; he signed a five-year, $72MM extension last summer, and he still has another four years to go on that pact. Still, the contract looks fairly team-friendly in the current market, so Buffalo GM Brandon Beane was recently asked if Diggs is content with his deal. Beane side-stepped the issue, saying simply that Diggs is “happy to be in Buffalo” (Twitter link via Jay Skurski of the Buffalo News). It would indeed be rather surprising to see the Bills rework a contract that has four years remaining.
  • Rich Cimini of ESPN.com confirms that Jets guard Brian Winters, who was presumed to be a cap casualty not that long ago, will remain with the Jets and will compete for a job in training camp. Cimini says that if Winters does not win a starting role, he will likely be asked to take a pay cut.

Jets Explored DeAndre Hopkins, Stefon Diggs Trades

Once again, the Jets have a need at wide receiver. Robby Anderson‘s free agency departure expanded the void Gang Green features at this position.

Prior to the Jets losing Anderson to the Panthers, they were one of the teams to explore trades for DeAndre Hopkins and Stefon Diggs. Joe Douglas confirmed Wednesday the Jets did their due diligence on Hopkins and Diggs, per The Athletic’s Connor Hughes (via Twitter).

Both surfaced in trade rumors midway through last month and were gone within hours of said rumors. The Cardinals sent the Texans a package highlighted by a second-round pick and David Johnson — a deal that shocked the league — and the Bills pried Diggs away from the Vikings for a first-rounder and a host of Day 3 picks. The Vikings reduced their Diggs asking price over the past several months. The Patriots also showed interest in Diggs; the Bills landing him stands to increase their chances to win the AFC East.

The Jets did add Breshad Perriman as an Anderson replacement, doing so at a much cheaper rate, and still have Jamison Crowder in the slot. Quincy Enunwa‘s status is up in the air, Douglas confirmed (Twitter link via Hughes), after he missed 15 games last season because of a neck injury. Enunwa missing the entire 2017 slate because of a neck malady obviously puts his career in jeopardy.

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WR Notes: Hopkins, Diggs, Agholor, Ravens

Before the Texans dealt DeAndre Hopkins to the Cardinals, the Patriots pursued the All-Pro wideout. So did the Eagles, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com said during an interview with Philadelphia’s 97.5 The Fanatic (Twitter link). The Eagles passed on going deep into talks, however, which makes sense given their commitments to Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson. Hopkins also wants a new deal in the $20MM-per-year range, in which Amari Cooper (zero All-Pro honors). The Eagles’ view of the much-hyped 2020 wide receiver class affected a potential Hopkins pursuit, Tim McManus of ESPN.com adds.

This impacted the Texans’ trade, with Albert Breer of SI.com adding that Hopkins wanted a raise instead of an extension. He is under contract through 2022 — on a $16.2MM-per-year deal that has dropped from first to eighth among wide receivers. Hopkins had also become a bit of a locker room issue in Houston, per Breer, who adds that the Texans may have been reluctant to reward the 27-year-old star because of the message it would have sent. This process came as a bit of a surprise to the Cardinals, whom Breer notes did not engage in Hopkins discussions with the Texans at the Combine.

Here is the latest from the wideout front, moving first to last week’s other big trade:

  • Months before the Bills pulled the trigger on a Stefon Diggs trade, they were interested in doing so before last year’s deadline. The Bills called the Vikings on several occasions about Diggs’ availability last year, Breer reports, but Minnesota insisted on keeping him. The Bills reached out about an hour after an ominous Diggs tweet that emerged shortly after the Hopkins trade, Breer adds. Last year, the Vikings wanted either two first-rounders or first- and second-round picks for Diggs, but Breer notes they loosened their asking price when the Bills called last week. Although the Vikings mentioned the 2013 Percy Harvin trade — in which the Seahawks dealt first-, third- and seventh-rounders for the then-standout wideout — as a starting point, they ended up accepting a first-rounder and no Day 2 picks for Diggs.
  • The Raiders are likely to use Nelson Agholor as their punt returner, according to Vic Tafur of The Athletic (subscription required). While Agholor has only returned three punts in five NFL seasons, he was an accomplished return man at USC. He totaled four punt-return touchdowns between his sophomore and junior years with the Trojans. The Raiders traded for Trevor Davis to return punts last year but waived him later in 2019.
  • Chris Moore‘s Ravens contract expired last week, but the team remains interested in keeping him. The Ravens have engaged in talks about re-signing the free agent wide receiver, Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic tweets. Although Moore is not a big factor in Baltimore’s passing game, he is valued as a special-teamer. A new deal would likely cost close to the league minimum.

Patriots Showed Interest In Stefon Diggs

During the legal tampering period’s first day, the Patriots were one of the teams to express interest in Vikings wideout Stefon Diggs. The Pats discussed Diggs with the Vikings last Monday, Albert Breer of SI.com notes.

Diggs’ tweet about a change of scenery being on the horizon indeed sparked discussions between the Vikings and Bills, per Breer, but the Pats were involved as well. Their interest, however, cooled because of their decision to use their franchise tag on Joe Thuney, Breer adds, noting that Tom Brady‘s increasingly likely departure made the need for a veteran wideout of Diggs’ caliber make less sense.

New England was doing work on potential wide receiver or tight end trades in the days between the Combine and free agency, but nothing materialized. They have since seen Brady depart for Tampa and Brian Hoyer re-sign. Thuney has signed his tender, dropping the Pats’ cap space below $5MM. The Seahawks were on the Diggs radar as well, but the Vikings opted for the Bills’ offer of first-, fifth- and sixth-round 2020 picks and a 2021 fourth.

The Patriots went through some high-profile receivers in 2019, but both Josh Gordon and Antonio Brown barely contributed to the cause last season. New England has Julian Edelman, going into his age-34 season, and N’Keal Harry as its top 2020 wideouts. Mohamed Sanu and former Panther and Cardinal Damiere Byrd factor in as well.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Vikings Trade WR Stefon Diggs To Bills

We’ve got our second major wide receiver trade of the day. Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer reports (via Twitter) that the Vikings are trading star wideout Stefon Diggs to the Bills. ESPN’s Adam Schefter has full details on the swap (Twitter link):

  • To Minnesota: 2020 1st-round pick, 2020 5th-round pick, 2020 6th-round pick, 2021 4th-round pick
  • To Buffalo: Diggs, 2020 7th-round pick

A Diggs trade has felt inevitable for some time, as the wideout has bounced in and out of trade rumors. In fact, earlier today, the wideout hinted that “somethings going to happen” and “it’s time for a new beginning.” That led to whispers that the Seahawks and Vikings were discussing a trade. Well, after months of social media hints, it appears that the receiver finally got his wish.

During each of his five years in the NFL, Diggs has hauled in at least 50 receptions and at least 700 receiving yards. He finished the 2019 campaign with a career-high 1,130 receiving yards and six scores on 63 receptions. The 26-year-old still has four seasons remaining on his contract with a base value of $45.1MM (per ESPN’s Field Yates on Twitter).

The Bills have been hunting for a big-name wide receiver to pair with quarterback Josh Allen for more than a year. Last offseason, it sounded like the team was set to acquire Antonio Brown, but the star ended up squashing that deal. Instead, the organization watched as John Brown reemerged into a 1,000-yard receiver, and Brown will team up with Diggs to form one of the top receiver duos in the league.

The Vikings will open up a chunk of cap space, which is (ironically) relevant after the team extended quarterback Kirk Cousins earlier today. The team will now move forward with Adam Thielen as their clear-cut, number-one wideout in 2020.

Earlier today, the Texans shocked the NFL when they sent star wideout DeAndre Hopkins to the Cardinals. In exchange, Houston received a package highlighted by running back David Johnson and a second-rounder.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Seahawks, Vikings Interested In Stefon Diggs Trade?

Rumored off-and-on as a trade candidate, Stefon Diggs has emerged on this front again. The Seahawks are interested, with Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times tweeting interest has emerged on both sides in a potential Diggs deal. Diggs himself added a lot of fuel to the fire shortly after this report emerged, cryptically tweeting “it’s time for a new beginning.”

Diggs dissatisfaction with his role on Minnesota’s offense led to 2019 trade rumors, but the Vikings squashed that and depended on their well-paid wideout the rest of the season. Adam Thielen‘s injury thrust Diggs to the top of the Vikings’ aerial pecking order. But the Vikings have two receivers making $14MM-plus annually, with Diggs at $14.4MM per year and Thielen now north of $16MM on average.

Reports of drama with Diggs percolated throughout 2019. The wide receiver wasn’t happy with his role early on in the season and even after he eased up on some of his comments, many still believed that he wanted out. The Vikings, meanwhile, said they’d smooth things out. Right now, it looks like he could be on his way to another NFC contender.

Diggs, on the verge of his age-27 season, is signed through 2023 thanks to his five-year, $72MM extension. Last year, he caught 63 passes for 1,130 yards and six touchdowns. He was targeted just 94 times – down from his 149 targets in 2018 – but he was more efficient than ever as he averaged 17.9 yards per catch.

Vikings GM Shoots Down Stefon Diggs Trade Talk

Stefon Diggs is staying put. At least, that’s what Vikings GM Rick Spielman told reporters on Tuesday morning at the NFL’s draft combine.

[RELATED: Vikings’ Everson Griffen To Opt Out]

There is no reason to anticipate that Stefon Diggs is not going to be a Minnesota Viking,” the GM said (Twitter link via Nick Shook of NFL.com).

Reports of drama with Diggs raged throughout the 2019 season. The wide receiver indicated that he wasn’t happy with his role early on in the year and even after he walked back some of his comments, many still believed that he wanted out. At this juncture, it sounds like the Vikings are committed to smoothing things out with the ultra-talented offensive weapon.

Diggs, entering his age-27 season, is signed through 2023 thanks to his five-year, $72MM re-up. He didn’t always get as many looks as he wanted last year as the Vikings put a greater emphasis on the run. This year, it’s possible that they’ll look to Diggs more often with Gary Kubiak as their new offensive coordinator.

Last year, Diggs caught 63 passes for 1,130 yards and six touchdowns. He was targeted just 94 times – down from his 149 targets in 2018 – but he was more efficient than ever as he averaged 17.9 yards per catch.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.