The Buffalo Bills have one of the NFL’s best quarterback/wide receiver combos. That’s a nice place to be in a league that continues to be driven by elite passing offenses. The Bills definitely have one of those, as the team has ranked in the top ten in passing yards and passing touchdowns for the last three seasons.
That timeline coincides with the addition of one of the league’s best wideouts, a player who had developed a reputation as a “diva” from the way his time with previous club ended. One team’s diva is another team’s “lunchpail player,” though, as no one truly knows what’s happening behind closed doors.
In today’s installment of “90 players in 90 days,” we profile a superstar wide receiver who some folks thought was reverting back to those “diva” ways this offseason. Spoiler alert: I’m not one of those folks.
Name: Stefon Diggs
Height/Weight: 6’, 191 pounds
Age: 29 (30 on 11/29/2023)
Acquired: Traded to Bills by Minnesota on 3/20/2020
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Diggs signed a four-year contract extension worth a total of $96 million with the Bills on April 6, 2022. Technically, that extension hasn’t even really kicked in, as he’s under contract now through the 2027 season. His 2023 cap hit stands at $14,875,111, which is the third-highest total on the squad. Diggs carries a dead-cap number of $45,466,111 if Buffalo were to decide to trade or release him, and since it’s after June 1, that dead-cap number would be split between 2023 and 2024. It’s not going to happen, though.
2022 Recap: Diggs had yet another incredible season for the Bills, hauling in a team-high 108 passes for a team-high 1,429 yards and a team-high 11 touchdowns. The latter figure tied the Bills’ franchise record for most touchdown receptions in a season — an honor that Diggs shares with Bill Brooks, who caught 11 touchdowns in 1995. Diggs made the Pro Bowl for the third consecutive season, and he was named Second-Team All-Pro, his second All-Pro nod in his career (he was named First-Team All-Pro with Buffalo in 2020). In the postseason, Diggs caught 11 passes for 149 yards on 19 targets, but for the second straight year, he didn’t catch a touchdown pass in the playoffs. In Buffalo’s 27-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, Diggs was held to just four catches for 35 yards. Cameras caught him yelling on the sidelines, and it looked like he was yelling at quarterback Josh Allen. That outpouring of frustration set the stage for what was a melodramatic offseason for Diggs and the Bills.
Positional outlook: Diggs is the top dog at wideout, and he’s joined by 12 other players at the position. Gave Davis, Andy Isabella, Deonte Harty, Khalil Shakir, Trent Sherfield, Marcell Ateman, Bryan Thompson, Justin Shorter, Tyrell Shavers, Dezmon Patmon, KeeSean Johnson, and Isaiah Coulter round out the group.
2023 Offseason: Oh, nothing much happened... Diggs just tweeted mercurial wide receiver things for most of the spring, skipped voluntary workouts, attended a celebration that ESPN’s Alaina Getzenberg later was able to find the backstory for, then came to mandatory minicamp on the first day only to be excused from day one of practice, which led to head coach Sean McDermott saying he was very concerned, which then led to darn near all of Diggs’ teammates saying they were not concerned, and then Diggs spoke to the media on day two for the first time in months and pronounced everything water under the bridge. You know, regular old run-of-the-mill things.
2023 Season outlook: All kidding aside from the paragraph above, I can’t say I was ever all that worried about the supposed offseason issues Buffalo and Diggs were having. Diggs is an emotional player. He always has been. Diggs loves to win. Buffalo did not win last year — and the way their season ended was incredibly disappointing. Any great team needs someone with the kind of fire Diggs brings to each game and each practice. Any great offense needs a player like Diggs, who does everything that an elite wide receiver is supposed to do. Diggs isn’t going to accept less than the best effort from his teammates, and he isn’t going to give anything less than his best effort, either.
In just three seasons, Diggs is fifth in Bills’ franchise history in receptions (338), eighth in receiving yards (4,189), and tied for sixth in receiving touchdowns (29). If he continues on his current yearly pace with the club, he’ll be in fourth in all of those categories by season’s end. Diggs was never going to leave Buffalo heading into this season. I’d be willing to bet he’s not going anywhere next year, either. The Bills’ offense remains the Allen and Diggs show for the foreseeable future.