The Buffalo Bills pulled off a blockbuster trade Monday night and found an elite wide receiver for quarterback Josh Allen.
The Bills acquired Minnesota’s Stefon Diggs in return for a haul of draft picks that included Buffalo’s first-round pick this year. The deal first was reported by Jay Glazer of Fox Sports. A league source confirmed to The News the Bills have an agreement with the Vikings.
Besides the No. 22 overall pick in April, the Bills gave up fifth- and sixth-round picks this year and a fourth-rounder in 2021. They also get a seventh-round pick this year in return from Minnesota.
Diggs gives the Bills a dynamic three-receiver set, joining John Brown and slot man Cole Beasley.
Diggs is a five-year veteran, but he’s only 26 years old. He has averaged 73 catches for 924 yards and six touchdowns per season.
it’s time for a new beginning.
— DIGGS (@stefondiggs) March 16, 2020
In 2018, Diggs caught 102 passes, 11th most in the NFL, for 1,021 yards and nine TDs. Last season, he had 63 catches for 1,130 yards and six TDs. His 17.3 yards-per-catch average was fourth best in the league among receivers who had at least 30 catches.
Diggs is an elite route-runner, superb at creating separation in the middle of the field or outside the numbers via his quickness in and out of his breaks. He’s arguably more quick than fast, but his 40-yard dash time coming out of college was faster than most NFL starters, at 4.46 seconds.
Giving up a first-round pick as a big price for the Bills to pay, especially since the 2020 NFL Draft is loaded with good wide receivers.
However, rookie receivers often take some time to develop. Coming off a 10-6 playoff season, the trade is a sign the Bills believe their offense is ready to take a big leap forward this year.
The lack of a second outside receiving option opposite Brown was a big weakness of the Bills’ attack in 2019. Buffalo ranked 26th in passing yards last season.
Diggs also comes at a reasonable salary, at least for the next three years. He still has four years remaining on a five-year, $72 million contract, which averages $14.2 million a year. His salary cap figures for the next four years are $11.5 million in 2020 and $12 million the three years after that. The Vikings paid him a $14 million bonus when he signed the deal.
Diggs produced one of the most famous plays in the NFL in recent years in the NFC Divisional playoffs in the 2017 season. He caught a 61-yard TD pass from Kirk Cousins on the final play of the game – “the Minnesota Miracle” – to beat the New Orleans Saints.
The trade leaves the Bills with seven picks this year. They entered the day with two fifth-rounders, three sixth-rounders and no seventh-rounder.
Their first pick will be No. 54 overall, in the second round. They now have one in the third round, one in the fourth, one in the fifth round, two in the sixth and one in the seventh.