ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — The Buffalo Bills understood they had to do something to pull Stefon Diggs’ compensation in line with that of Tyreek Hill and DeVante Adams, the biggest winners from the NFL’s exploding wide-receiver market this offseason. With other teams showering other elite players at the position with massive dollars – especially those of the guaranteed variety – the Bills knew the one they have on their roster would be looking for his.
The question was, when?
With two years remaining on Diggs’ original deal, would the fact the Bills had so little wiggle room under the salary cap force them to hold off until next year? Or would Brandon Beane and his talented cap magicians figure out a way to get something done before this season?
Chalk up another one for the magicians. Per multiple media reports Wednesday, the Bills and Diggs agreed to a four-year contract extension that will significantly boost the pay of a vital component to the team’s quest for a Super Bowl crown.
There are discrepancies in the early reporting of the extension’s details, with its total value ranging between $96 and $104 million, though the key consistency in the information dispensed by league insiders is $70 million in guaranteed money. That would strongly indicate the Bills converted base salary from the two years left on Diggs’ previous deal into bonus money. The beauty in that for the Bills is the likely reduction of the player’s 2022 cap hit, while providing him the satisfaction of being one of the higher-paid receivers in the league.
Equally important is for the Bills is making this happen now.
It promptly removes the potential for a lingering distraction, despite the fact Diggs had not done any public complaining and has consistently shown that he’s all in with doing everything possible to help maximize the production of Josh Allen and one of the NFL’s most explosive passing attacks.
Unlike Hill and Adams, each of whom wanted out of Kansas City and Green Bay, respectively, in pursuit of the kind of money they wouldn’t get from those teams, Diggs badly wanted to remain with the Bills. Hill had to go to Miami to satisfy his desire to break the bank, while Adams had to bolt for Las Vegas.
Diggs has witnessed Beane’s impressive work to address key areas of the roster to bolster the Bills’ chances of getting over the postseason hump once and for all and playing for the Lombardi Trophy that has eluded the franchise. He saw what the Bills were willing to spend to land Von Miller to beef up the pass rush. He saw the solid moves to enhance the interiors of the offensive and defensive lines. And he recognizes he is part of a pass-catching corps that, with the emerging Gabriel Davis and solid free agent additions of Jamison Crowder in the slot and OJ Howard at tight end, can be as dangerous as any in the NFL.
Diggs realized he has made a lasting mark on Western New York and wanted nothing to take away from that.
The Bills know the clock is ticking on the window they have to reach and win a Super Bowl. Allen and other key players are young and have more productive years ahead, but Miller was signed to a deal that, despite being six years, is effectively in place for him to make his biggest impact in the next two seasons. The kind of investing this team has done minimizes the tolerance for a third year in a row of exiting the postseason before a fifth trip to the Big Show.
The Bills still need to find a cornerback, something they’ll likely do later this month in the draft, but the core pieces to assembling a team that should be favored to get to the Super Bowl are all in place.