clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

A massive Stefon Diggs contract projection for the 2022 offseason

Two big WR contract later...

The recent talk around Stefon Diggs is that the Buffalo Bills wide receiver wants a new contract. With two years left on his deal, general manager Brandon Beane says it will be done in due time. I think training camp 2022 is probably the right time frame, lining up with when Josh Allen got his mega deal a year ago.

With two wide receiver mega-contracts in the books over the last ten days, it’s time to examine what Diggs could make in a new contract. As in most contracts, the devil is in the details. While Tyreek Hill ($30M/season) and Davante Adams ($28M/season) have eye-catching numbers, they aren’t exactly what they seem.

Comparable Contract

Tyreek Hill
Miami Dolphins
Four years, $120 million
$52 million guaranteed

Ok, that average number is complete and utter hogwash; he’s not making $30 million per season. The final year of the deal in 2026 jumps from a $28 million cap hit to a $50 million cap hit with $44 million in base salary, doubling the 2025 season compensation. It’s an inflated number and a dummy year he is never, ever going to see. Really, it’s a three-year deal worth $75 million for an average of $25 million per season, not $30 million per season. Looking at the entire contract, including the final year of the previously existing deal, it’s a four-year, $95 million deal for Hill before that stupid final season (just $24 million per season).

Davante Adams
Las Vegas Raiders
Five years, $140 million
$65.67 million guaranteed

The Adams deal is slightly different than the Hill deal. There isn’t one massive dummy year, but two. In 2022 he makes $23.35 million in cash, $26.670 million in 2023, and $17.49 in 2024. That more than doubles in 2025 and 2026, when he will cash checks worth $36.24 million. That’s the out for the Raiders and the numbers that bump the deal into the stratosphere in average annual salary. If you just take those first three years, he makes $67.51 million over three seasons, an average of $22.5 million.

DeAndre Hopkins
Arizona Cardinals
Two years, $54.5 million
$42.75 million guaranteed

This is the deal that promoted the others. Even though he still had three years left on his contract, Hopkins signed a two-year extension when he was traded from the Houston Texans to the Cardinals. That big chunk of new money was to keep him happy, but it also bumped up the WR market. His yearly cash won’t go up too much from 2022 to 2023 (the first new year of the deal), but his cap hit will jump dramatically because the Cardinals have been pushing his cap hits into the future; they restructured the deal in 2021 and again in 2022 to move cap hits out. It’s a $27 million average, but the life of the contract is $95 million—a real average of $19 million per season.


Contract Projection

Which number do you want? Do you want the super-inflated number with the dummy year or two on the end, or the functional length of the contract? Buffalo added a sixth year to Von Miller’s deal at a super-inflated price to get his averages and totals up, so I wouldn’t doubt they will do the same with Diggs, especially in light of the Hill and Adams contracts.

Let’s assume a functional average of $25 million per season to put him ahead of Hill’s $24 million. Then we can build our way back out.

Diggs is still 29 and you can assume he has multiple years left in the tank. Adams signed three new functional years as did Hill. Let’s keep the functional new space at three new years then.

If they give him the Hill contract as an extension, he will make $13.6 million (2022) plus $13.6 million (2023) plus $75 million (2024 to 2026) over the next five seasons as the functional part of the contract. Adding a $40+ million year on the back end would make the Diggs number higher than both Adams and Hill in terms of sticker shock, but wouldn’t really be in play.

A $20 million signing bonus with a guaranteed $20 million option bonus in 2023 would spread out the cap hits over the next six years, and then guaranteeing a majority of his salary in the third season (as they did with Miller) would put his guaranteed money figures where they need to be to get the deal done. That’s $53.285 million in my scenario outlined below.

The Bills get cap space in 2022 and 2023, Diggs gets to claim he’s the highest-paid receiver in the NFL, and Josh Allen’s main target is happy for several years cashing $20 million checks.

Stefon Diggs
Buffalo Bills
Four years, $121 million
$53.285 million guaranteed

Functionally, it’s a five-year deal worth $103.635 million, an average of $20.727 million after the three-year, $75 million functional extension. Because he’s still under contract for two more years, that functional average is going to be lower than Hill, who only had one year left on his previous deal, and Adams, who didn’t have any existing years left. Adams is only making $67.5 million in the first three years of his extension while Hill is at $75 million in his first three, identical to Diggs.

Diggs and his agent are likely going to ask for more than this because Diggs has two years left on his deal and not one like Hill or none like Adams. I think if they want that leverage, they will have to wait until the 2023 offseason.

Diggs would receive more than $42 million in the first two seasons of the deal and more than $62 in the first three seasons. After that, he would be over $20 million in cash in every individual season, too.

His cap hit goes from around $18 million in 2022 and 2023 down to $10.5 million and $14 million instead before jumping up in 2024.

2022
Previous contract restructure: $4,356,111
Roster bonus: $650,000 (already paid)
Pro-rated signing bonus: $4 million
Workout bonus: $50,000
Per-game roster bonus: $250,000
Base salary: $1.12 million (fully guaranteed)

Total cash: $21.92 million
Cap hit: $10,426,111

2023
Previous contract restructure: $4,356,111
Pro-rated signing bonus: $4 million
Pro-rated restructure: $4 million
Workout bonus: $100,000
Per-game roster bonus: $255,000
Base salary: $1.165 million (fully guaranteed)

Total cash: $21.565 million
Cap hit: $13,876,111

2024
Pro-rated signing bonus: $4 million
Pro-rated restructure: $4 million
Workout bonus: $250,000
Per-game roster bonus: $255,000
Base salary: $18.2 million ($11 million fully guaranteed)

Total cash: $18.7 million
Cap hit: $26.705 million

2025
Pro-rated signing bonus: $4 million
Pro-rated restructure: $4 million
Roster bonus: $1 million
Workout bonus: $250,000
Per-game roster bonus: $255,000
Base salary: $19 million

Total cash: $20.5 million
Cap hit: $28.505 million
Dead cap: $20 million

2026
Pro-rated signing bonus: $4 million
Pro-rated restructure: $4 million
Roster bonus: $1 million
Workout bonus: $250,000
Per-game roster bonus: $255,000
Base salary: $20 million

Total cash: $21.5 million
Cap hit: $29.505 million
Dead cap: $12 million

2027
Pro-rated restructure: $4 million
Roster bonus: $1 million
Workout bonus: $250,000
Per-game roster bonus: $255,000
Base salary: $45 million

Total cash: $46.5 million
Cap hit: $50.505 million
Dead cap: $4 million