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Report: Bills moved quickly to swing trade for Stefon Diggs

The Buffalo Bills' interest in Stefon Diggs reportedly dates back to last season.

An article published Monday by Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer includes several new details as it pertains to the Bills' trade with Minnesota last week that netted Buffalo its new No. 1 receiver.

In it, Breer writes that "the Bills had done their homework on Diggs, because they’d been aggressive with the Vikings before the trade deadline in October, calling several times about his availability. One thing that helped: Buffalo college scouting director Terrance Gray was working for the Vikings when Diggs was drafted, so he helped provide insight into what makes Diggs tick."

The Vikings chose Diggs in the fifth round of the 2015 draft.

While the Bills were interested in Diggs last year, Breer reported that the trade last week came together quickly. On March 16, the start of the NFL's "legal tampering" period in which agents of impending free agents could begin negotiating contracts with other teams, Diggs tweeted: "It's time for a new beginning."

According to Breer, teams responded by making calls to Minnesota to see if Diggs was actually available via trade. One of those teams was the Bills, who according to Breer, reached out at 4 p.m. that Monday.

The Vikings' asking price for Diggs during the regular season, according to the report, was either two first-round draft picks or a first- and second-round pick.

"After a few calls back and forth, the Vikings mentioned Percy Harvin as a model for the trade. In 2013, Minnesota got first-, third- and seventh-round picks from Seattle for Harvin," Breer wrote. "That was a little rich for the Bills’ blood, but they could get in the ballpark. In the 9 p.m. hour, the Vikings asked teams involved for their best offers."

The report goes on to say that the New England Patriots were initially one of the teams interested in Diggs, but their interest waned because they were up against the salary cap and quarterback Tom Brady's future with the team was uncertain. (Brady, of course, ended up leaving New England.)

When the Bills called back less than six hours after originally checking in with the Vikings, the framework of a deal was in place, according to Breer.

Here's how he described it: "The logic for Buffalo? Emmanuel Sanders might’ve been the best free-agent option out there for the Bills at a need position, and Sanders was six-and-a-half years older. And if you packaged the picks involved — the Bills resolved not to deal a (third-round pick) — then it only would’ve gotten Buffalo from 22 overall to about 18 or so, which might not be high enough to get a Jerry Jeudy or CeeDee Lamb in April."

In the end, the Bills sent that No. 22 overall selection along with fifth- and sixth-round picks this year, as well as a fourth-round selection in 2021, to Minnesota in exchange for Diggs and a seventh-round pick this year.

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