Stefon Diggs

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.

Injury Notes: Ingram, 49ers, Thielen, Fuller

With every team booked into divisional-round action having now begun practice, here is the latest from the injury front going into Round 2. We’ll start with a midweek Vikings setback:

  • Stefon Diggs has missed two Vikings practices because of illness this week, but Mike Zimmer expects him to suit up in San Francisco. However, Adam Thielen suffered an ankle injury at practice and was limited on Wednesday as a result. Thielen was not on Minnesota’s Tuesday injury report. The Pro Bowl wideout missed much of this season with a hamstring injury. He caught seven passes for a game-high 129 yards against the Saints.
  • The NFL’s other purple-wearing team will likely go into its second-round game with backfield uncertainty. Previously expected to return for the Ravens‘ playoff opener, Mark Ingram has missed both Ravens practices this week. Ingram experienced a setback with his injured calf last week, leading to the Ravens to shut him down for a bit, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (video link). The Ravens are indicating there is a “realistic chance” Ingram plays. Baltimore backup Gus Edwards‘ 5.2 yards per carry ranked third in the NFL this season.
  • 49ers linebacker Kwon Alexander has been cleared for game action, per Rapoport (video link), meaning it’s now Kyle Shanahan‘s call on whether to redeploy the high-priced defender Saturday. The 49ers used their second IR-return spot on Alexander, who is attempting to return from a midseason pectoral tear, but have not activated him yet.
  • Winding down an oft-injured season, Dee Ford is back at 49ers practice and appears ready to return at a key juncture. The veteran defensive end has dealt with a few maladies, his most recent being a hamstring issue that he aggravated in December. Ford’s gone through limited practices the past two days.
  • One of the NFL’s most important No. 2 wideouts, Will Fuller is trending in the right direction for the Texans‘ divisional-round rematch in Kansas City. The Texans expect their deep threat to return against the Chiefs, Rapoport tweets. Fuller was limited Wednesday. Deshaun Watson‘s QBR figure is 16 points higher when Fuller is on the field compared to when he’s not. The injury-prone wideout missed six games this season, the latest because of the groin injury he sustained in December.
  • Among the healthiest of the divisional-round teams, the Packers will have their right tackle back in the mix. Bryan Bulaga suffered a concussion in Week 17 but passed the protocol Wednesday, Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com notes. Kenny Clark, however, missed practice with a back injury. The contract-year defensive lineman played all 16 Packer games this season.

NFC North Notes: Diggs, Lions, Packers

There’s been a lot of drama with the Vikings this season, as their offense has once again been a disappointment. Minnesota bounced back with a big win over the Giants in Week 5, but it’s unclear if that will be enough to smooth things over. Adam Thielen publicly called out Kirk Cousins, and Stefon Diggs has made it clear he hasn’t been happy with his role. There’s been plenty of trade speculation surrounding Diggs, but it appears it’s little more than just speculation. Speaking recently on a WEEI radio appearance, Peter King of NBC Sports said he’s been told it’s “highly unlikely,” that Diggs gets dealt.

Just earlier today we heard that the Patriots were hoping to pry Diggs away, but it sounds like they’ll have to look elsewhere for receiver help. Diggs is still only 25, under contract through the 2023 season, and the Vikings don’t have any clear replacement for him on the roster, so it makes sense why they’re insistent on keeping him. Minnesota is attempting to establish a run-first identity in 2019, and Diggs has grown frustrated with his usage. The Maryland product has only topped three catches once this season, and he only has put up more than 50 yards on one occasion as well.

Here’s more from around the NFC North:

  • The Lions have been doing something pretty unusual with their offensive line this year. Instead of sticking with their five-man unit at all times for chemistry purposes, Detroit has been rotating three guards in all of their games. Graham Glasgow has been starting at right guard, Joe Dahl has been starting at left guard, and Kenny Wiggins has been mixing in for series’ here and there at both positions. The system was the idea of offensive line coach Jeff Davidson, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “There came a time, obviously in that first week (of the season that) I’m sitting here trying to agonize over who’s winning the starting job and all that stuff there,” Davidson said. “To me, it was clear who owned the starting jobs, but I also believed that Kenny Wiggins earned the right to be on the field and it’s just a way to be able to get that done also.” As Birkett points out both Glasgow and Dahl have received strong marks from Pro Football Focus, but the team doesn’t plan on changing things anytime soon. The Lions have gotten off to a better start than just about anybody expected, so it’s understandable why.
  • The Packers will be playing Detroit on Monday Night Football in a pivotal divisional game, and they’ll be a little shorthanded. We already know they’ll be without top receiver Davante Adams, but they also just ruled out starting safety Darnell Savage, who picked up an ankle injury in their win over the Cowboys. The rookie first-round pick from Maryland has been an every-down player for Green Bay, so it’s a big loss. Fortunately for them, starting center Corey Linsley has cleared the concussion protocol and will play here after leaving the Dallas game early.
  • Speaking of Monday Night Football injuries, Lions defensive tackle Mike Daniels will have to wait a bit longer for his revenge. The longtime Packer was released in July and signed with Detroit shortly after, but he’s going to miss his second straight game with a foot injury. Daniels signed a one-year, $9.1MM deal with the Lions just two days after getting cut.

Vikings’ Stefon Diggs On Trade Talk

Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs is generating trade interest, but he doesn’t necessarily want to be shipped out. On Wednesday, Diggs clarified his earlier comments regarding his dissatisfaction with the club.

[RELATED: Stefon Diggs Drawing Trade Interest]

I never said I was unhappy or uncomfortable with my role. I said I wanted to win, that was what my frustrations were and that’s where it kind of got misconstrued last week,” Diggs said (Twitter link via Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press).

Diggs skipped multiple practices in Minnesota and has been fined upwards of $200K. In the midst of a five-year, $72MM extension, Diggs can take the hit, but he might not be happy about it.

Either way, Diggs seems to have calmed down, perhaps because the Vikings topped the Giants 28-10 last Sunday. Next up – a big matchup against the Eagles.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Stefon Diggs Generating Trade Interest

Although Vikings WR Stefon Diggs will play today, it seems the tension between player and team is still high. We heard that Minnesota had fined Diggs for missing practice and skipping some meetings this week, and ESPN’s Chris Mortensen tweets that the fine total has now exceeded $200K.

Diggs, who signed a five-year, $72MM extension in July 2018, can certainly afford the fines, but it’s still a hefty sum that is not likely to fill the Maryland product with warm and fuzzy and feelings towards the Vikings (but, while the team would be entitled to void Diggs’ $40MM in guarantees, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets that the Vikes have not taken that nuclear approach). Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports that multiple teams have tried to capitalize on the discord by reaching out to Minnesota with trade inquiries, but the Vikings have remained adamant in their refusal to trade their disgruntled star this year.

However, Schefter suggests that some teams do believe Minnesota would change its stance if the offer was good enough, and the club could revisit trade talks in the offseason. Diggs is an electric playmaker who could add a charge to most any offense, and given the ever-growing market for wideouts, his current deal doesn’t seem particularly cumbersome.

The Vikings, who are currently 2-2 and in last place in the NFC North, will look to get back above .500 against the Giants this afternoon.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Stefon Diggs, Vikings

Sunday, 8:29am: Diggs is expected to be active today, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter).

Saturday, 2:46pm: Mike Zimmer has not committed to Stefon Diggs playing Sunday against the Giants, but the wide receiver did make the trip to East Rutherford, N.J., Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com tweets.

It would be a major upset if Diggs did not play for a Vikings team coming off a loss — and one rather thin at wideout beyond its highly paid starting duo. Diggs’ status resided as a talking point in recent days after the fifth-year receiver missed practice for a non-injury reason this week. He is believed to be at odds with the Vikings and did not exactly deny reports of unrest.

The Vikings fined Diggs for missing practice and skipping some meetings this week, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter), who adds this is not the first instance of Diggs missing meetings this season. Although no known trade request has emerged, this story does not appear to be over.

Diggs agreed to a five-year, $72MM extension and followed that up with a four-year, $64.8MM re-up for Adam Thielen. Neither’s roles have been as prominent for the 2019 Vikings, who have become the NFL’s most run-oriented offense. Minnesota’s 99 pass attempts are the fewest of any team that’s played four games this season. That has caused some issues from the receivers. After a 102-reception 2018 season, Diggs has just 13 catches through four games.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.