Bills Trade Proposal Lands Projected $96 Million WR as New No. 1

Brandon Aiyuk, Washington Commanders, San Francisco 49ers

Getty Brandon Aiyuk makes a catch during the Super Bowl.

The Buffalo Bills face a difficult task this offseason in replacing the production that Stefon Diggs has brought over the last four seasons.

But just as the Bills brought in Diggs through an unexpected and blockbuster trade, an analyst suggests a similar move could bring a replacement after Diggs was traded to the Houston Texans earlier this month. Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus broke down the different avenues the Bills could pursue when replacing Diggs, including a potential trade with the San Francisco 49ers to land wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk.

Bills Would Need to Convince Niners to Deal Star Receiver

Monson noted there are no No. 1 receiving options available to the Bills through free agency, and the team’s No. 28 overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft won’t be high enough to land one of the top receiving prospects.

He suggested the Bills could try to sway the Cincinnati Bengals into trading Tee Higgins, though they may be reluctant to send him to a conference rival. Aiyuk could be a more attainable option, though the Bills would still need to make a strong offer that includes a first-round draft pick.

“Similarly, the San Francisco 49ers seem keen to retain Brandon Aiyuk, but they likely haven’t seen that resolve tested with a trade offer featuring a first-round selection,” Monson wrote. “Aiyuk averaged 2.65 yards per route run last season, and Tyreek Hill was the only receiver in the NFL with a higher PFF grade. In each case, the Bills would need to factor in the contract that they would have to re-sign that player to, but Hill, Diggs and A.J. Brown have each shown the potential benefit recently to that kind of deal if they could make the deal happen.”

Aiyuk is coming off a career-best season, making 75 receptions for 1,342 yards with seven touchdowns.

The Bills not only lost Diggs this offseason, but also saw No. 2 receiver Gabe Davis leave to join the Jacksonville Jaguars in free agency. The team’s top returning receiver is Khalil Shakir, who made 39 catches for 611 yards and two touchdowns last season, though second-year receiver Justin Shorter is also expected to return after spending all of his rookie season on injured reserve. The team also added Curtis Samuel and Mack Hollins in free agency.

Brandon Aiyuk’s Big Price Tag

If the Bills could convince the 49ers to part ways with Aiyuk, finding a way to pay for him would be the next challenge. Spotrac projected that the market value for the wide receiver would be a four-year contract for $96.1 million.

As Jeff Kerr of CBS Sports noted, the Bills were already in a cap space pinch before trading Diggs and will take another short-term hit before starting to see some savings.

“The Bills’ salary cap situation for 2024 looks bleak, but Buffalo appears to be playing the long game here,” Kerr wrote. “The Bills will carry $31.1 million in dead cap space with the Diggs trade, but will save $19 million in cash by trading Diggs now — giving them $19 million in freed-up cap space for 2025 by having Diggs off the books. They’ll have a projected $4.5 million in available cap space for 2024.”

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