ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WROC) — The Buffalo Bills have reportedly traded four draft picks to the Minnesota Vikings for wide receiver Stefon Diggs, and a draft pick in return.
The trade was first reported by Jay Glazer of Fox Sports.
The details were reported by ESPN NFL Senior Insider Adam Schefter. The Bills are sending this year’s 1st-round draft pick to the Vikings as well as a 5th-round pick, a 6th-round pick, and a 2021 4th-round pick. The Bills will also get a 7th-round pick in this year’s draft.
Diggs, a 26-year-old playmaker, is coming off a season with 63 catches, 1,130 yards and 6 touchdowns. It was a career-high for Diggs, who has racked up over 700 yards in each of his 5 seasons in the NFL. In 2018, he had the most catches of his career with 102 and passed 1,000 yards for the first time.
Diggs is in the second year of a $72 million contract that he signed in the 2018 offseason. He is under contract for four more seasons and has $45.1 million remaining.
Bills quarterback Josh Allen gave a subtle nod of approval of the trade on Twitter shortly after Schefter tweeted.
Thad’s Three Things
Perfect Move At The Perfect Time
The Bills are in the sweet spot for a franchise with Super Bowl dreams. The quarterback is developed, but still on a rookie contract. Many other young stars are yet to break the bank. The time to strike is now, aka this season.
Buffalo wasn’t finding a bonafide A-1 receiver in free agency. Amari Cooper stayed in Dallas. A.J. Green got the franchise tag in Cincinnati and he may not have the A-1 wideout chops anymore anyway. The draft is rich with top level receiver talent, but good luck being sure you get one of the good ones.
Diggs, on the other hand, is a lock. He can do it all. He can operate outside or in the slot. He can be a big play receiver or a high volume catch receiver. He’s an excellent route runner. He is the number one receiver most franchises spend years trying to find.
This was the only way the Bills were going to find that guy this year. Diggs gives the Bills arguably a top five group of skill players/supporting cast. He lifts the Bills offense from “don’t get in the way” to “look the heck out”. With the Patriots fading, Brandon Beane has nearly finished the job of making sure Buffalo is best prepared to take over the AFC throne.
They Did Overpay
A first, a fourth and two lower round picks for any wide receiver might be too much. That type of compensation for a receiver on the same day DeAndre Hopkins only netted the Texans a 2nd, a 4th and a terrible running back contract is jarringly high.
The Bills, however, put themselves in a position to afford an overpay.
They don’t have enough roster spots to accommodate the nine draft picks they had in 2019 before trading for Diggs. The Bills are stacked with depth defensive pieces (relatively) and offensive linemen. They don’t even need a backup tight end, a blocking tight end or even a situational wideout.
They also didn’t have to gut their 2019 draft for this deal. Beane still has picks in every round of the draft this year and two in the 6th round.
No one will care about what the Bills paid for Diggs if he’s catching touchdowns and winning playoff games, but stick that trade in a vacuum and, yeah, it’s more than you’d want to ideally give up. That goes double for a team who has proven to find valuable players in those later rounds.
Allen Has No More Excuses
In each of Allen’s first two seasons, Bills fans have made the case that he would have been better with better players around him. That argument obviously held more weight in 2018 than 2019.
It’s gone now. Allen now has two receivers at his disposal who had a 1,000 yards receiving last season. He has a third who caught nearly 70 passes for 800 yards in 2019. His top running back had nearly 600 yards in his final six games. The O-line has plus players in four of the five starting positions.
I’m still not a long term believer in Josh Allen. I’ve thought the best path for the Bills to really contend for a Super Bowl is to build an elite top to bottom roster around him. Brandon Beane is getting close.
Allen might not even have to be that good for the Bills to make a deep playoff run, but he better be good enough. There might not be in a quarterback in a better position in the entire league. That includes Pat Mahomes.