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Stefon Diggs

Star receiver hasn't practiced with team since January

Stefon Diggs is worked up about something, and the problem seems severe enough that if we’re drafting today, some discounting would be in order.

The talented-but-volatile receiver stayed away from voluntary workouts earlier in the offseason. Today he didn’t participate in the team’s mandatory practices. He showed up, but he didn’t practice.

Josh Allen says Diggs and the team are working through some unspecified “not football-related things.” When we last saw Diggs on the field, he was screaming at Allen at the end of the playoff loss against Cincinnati. Diggs caught only 4 passes for 35 yards in that game.

Winding the clock back to 2019, Diggs got frustrated with the Vikings. Those issues got substantial enough that Minnesota traded him for a first-round pick (that became Justin Jefferson). With the Bills having signed him to a contract including $70 million in guaranteed money, they don’t have that option. Releasing him now, according to Spotrac.com, would involve a salary cap hit of $45.4 million. One report indicates trading Diggs right now would involve a cap hit of $13.2 million, but that doesn’t seem likely or even possible (what team would want to trade for that contract right now, given the Diggs’ temperament?). He signed a four-year extension worth $96 million a year ago, so his issues probably aren’t contract related.

Most likely, the Bills figure out a way to smooth things over. Without getting into specifics, Allen indicates that he needs to do a better job of working with his star receiver. “Internally, we’re working on some things,” Allen said. “Stef, he’s my guy. I f***ing love him. He’s a brother of mine. This does not work, what we’re doing here, without him.”

With the Bills in Super Bowl mode, it’s reasonable to wonder if these issues with Diggs might juice up their interest in DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins is looking for a team right now, with the Titans, Bills, Browns and Kansas City among the teams that have shown some interest. If Diggs were to go AWOL during the regular season, the team probably wouldn’t be comfortable with Gabe Davis, Dalton Kincaid, Khalil Shakir and Dawson Knox as its primary pass catchers. (They’ll know more about those players, of course, after these practice sessions.)

This may prove to be a quickly forgotten nothing burger, but I think it’s reasonable to downgrade Diggs a few spots on draft boards for now. If we’re picking today, for example, one could bypass any potential Diggs headaches by instead picking a comparable receiver. CeeDee Lamb and Tyreek Hill might be better than Diggs anyway. Amon-Ra St. Brown seems to be in the same ballpark as Diggs. Or Cooper Kupp or Davante Adams (though they come with their own issues).

In leagues using PPR scoring, Diggs finished with the 5th-best per-game numbers last year, averaging 6.8 catches for 89 yards in 16 games, with 11 touchdowns.

PER-GAME WIDE RECEIVERS (2022)
PlayerStNoYdsRunTDPPR
Cooper Kupp, LAR98.390.25.8.7822.6
Justin Jefferson, Min.177.5106.41.4.5521.6
JaMarr Chase, Cin.127.387.2.7.7520.5
Tyreek Hill, Mia.177.0100.61.9.4720.1
Stefon Diggs, Buff.166.889.3-.2.6919.8
Davante Adams, L.V.175.989.2-.1.8219.7
A.J. Brown, Phil.175.288.0.0.6517.9
CeeDee Lamb, Dall.176.379.92.8.5317.7
DeAndre Hopkins, Ari.97.179.7.0.3317.1
Amon-Ra St. Brown, Det.166.672.65.9.3816.7
Keenan Allen, LAC106.675.2.8.4016.6
Christian Watson, G.B.93.761.97.6.8915.9
Jaylen Waddle, Mia.174.479.81.5.4715.4
Chris Godwin, T.B.156.968.2.3.2215.1
DeVonta Smith, Phil.175.670.4.0.4115.1
Tyler Lockett, Sea.165.364.6.0.5615.1
Mike Evans, T.B.155.174.9.0.4015.0
Tee Higgins, Cin.154.968.6.0.4914.7
Amari Cooper, Cle.174.668.2.0.5314.6
Christian Kirk, Jac.174.965.2.6.4714.3
Garrett Wilson, NYJ155.269.5.3.2713.8
Michael Pittman, Ind.166.257.81.9.2513.7
Jerry Jeudy, Den.154.564.82.7.4013.6
Mike Williams, LAC134.868.8.0.3113.6
DK Metcalf, Sea.175.361.6.0.3513.6
Brandon Aiyuk, S.F.174.659.71.4.4713.5
Chris Olave, N.O.154.869.5.0.2913.5
Terry McLaurin, Was.174.570.11.7.2913.5
Deebo Samuel, S.F.134.348.617.8.3813.3
Jakobi Meyers, N.E.144.857.4-.8.4513.2
Marquise Brown, Ari.125.659.1.1.2513.0
Zay Jones, Jac.165.151.41.1.3312.4
Richie James, NYG95.049.0.7.3312.0
JuJu Smith-Schuster, K.C.164.958.3.0.1911.8
DJ Moore, Car.173.752.23.1.4111.7
Jahan Dotson, Was.113.146.3-.6.6711.7
Allen Lazard, G.B.154.052.5.0.4011.7
Gabe Davis, Buff.153.255.7.0.4711.6
Brandin Cooks, Hou.134.453.8.5.2311.2
Russell Gage, T.B.104.639.0.0.4311.1

—Ian Allan

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