While Stefon Diggs was clearly unhappy with quarterback Josh Allen and his team following the Buffalo Bills‘ frustrating playoff loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, and his absence from voluntary OTAs was concerning for some, it was assumed all would be fine when the superstar wide receiver reported to mandatory minicamp.
However, when head coach Sean McDermott addressed the media at the start of mandatory minicamp on Tuesday, June 13, he revealed that the three-time Pro Bowler was not in attendance and that he was “very concerned.”
About an hour later, ESPN‘s Adam Schefter released a statement from Diggs’ agent, Adisa Bakari, which created mass confusion, as it said the exact opposite of what McDermott told reporters.
“Bakari said his client is in Buffalo, has been in Buffalo since yesterday morning, took his physical, met with the head coach and GM the past two days and the Pro-Bowl WR ‘will be there for the entirety of the minicamp.'”
Bills fans and analysts were stumped by the concerning development. WROC-TV‘s Thad Brown tweeted, “This is the mind boggling part. Doesn’t seem an objective Diggs can accomplish by no-showing today/this week. Other than attention/chaos.”
Former quarterback turned NFL analyst Robert Griffin III tweeted, “McDermott’s statement that Stefon Diggs was not present and being ‘very concerned’ about him needs clarification immediately.”
Bakari told Schefter that Diggs found what McDermott said during his press conference to be “a little odd” considering “the conversations happening behind the scenes” with the head coach. ESPN’s insider shared that Bakari expressed it’s an “in house situation that they are on the way to resolving” while also noting that the issue is not contract related.
Allen acknowledged Diggs’ absence while speaking to the media after practice, reiterating there’s nothing personal between the two. “I know, internally, we are working on some things, not football related,” Allen said, per WGR 550‘s Sal Capaccio. “Stef is my guy. I f—-ing love him…. There are some things that could’ve gone better last year. I think as an organization maybe we’re not communicating the right way.”
Stefon Diggs was at Minicamp But ‘Left Prior to the Start of Practice’
Amid the confusion, NFL Network‘s Ian Rapoport dropped another concerning nugget of information. Rapoport tweeted, “It seems, Diggs was there yesterday and there this morning. He left prior to the start of practice.”
Earlier on Tuesday, WGRZ Sports director Adam Benigni confirmed that “Diggs was at team headquarters for pre-minicamp medical testing yesterday, but “had not reported for day one of the Bills mandatory minicamp.”
USA Today‘s Bradley Gelber tweeted, “If it is a medical issue with Diggs the way McDermott answered the question was very odd.”
However, FOX Sports AFC East reporter Henry McKenna confirmed Diggs was physically fine. McKenna tweeted, “Just got off the phone with Stefon Diggs’ trainer Myron Flowers. They had worked out Sunday. Diggs told Flowers he was headed to minicamp for Monday’s physical. His plan was to practice. So it’s a strange twist that he got there and did not practice.”
Stefon Diggs’ Massive Contract Makes Him Nearly Impossible to Trade
Diggs signed a $96 million extension with the Bills last offseason, and “trading him would incur a significant dead cap hit, including $13.2 million this year,” ESPN reported.
NFL Network‘s Tom Pelissero pointed out that Diggs is “making $24.415 million in 2023, including a $22.745M signing bonus as part of a March restructure. A mountain of dead cap means his contract isn’t really tradeable from Buffalo’s end. An unusual situation.”
WGR 550’s Jeremy White tweeted, “Can’t be about money. Can’t be about role. Can’t be about team going nowhere. It has to be a #rift somewhere.”
SB Nation wrote that if the Bills were forced to trade the 29-year-old receiver, they could “free up $505,000 in 2023 cap space but be on the hook for $31 million in cap space in 2024. They could release him and free up $1.67 million in cap space in 2023 but would get that same $31 million hit in 2024. Unlike with some contracts you see where the Bills could recoup portions of guaranteed salary, this has already been paid in a bonus. Buffalo wouldn’t see any cap relief whatsoever and would have paid him $23 million in 2023 to literally not be on their team.”