Texans ‘Added Incentive’ to Stefon Diggs’ 8-Figure Deal Sparks Backlash

Stefon Diggs

Getty Former Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs at SoFi Stadium on December 23, 2023.

The Buffalo Bills‘ decision to abruptly trade Stefon Diggs to the Houston Texans left fans and analysts stunned.

The Bills ate over $31 million in dead money to part ways with the superstar wide receiver. To close the deal, Buffalo also sent Houston a 2024 sixth-round pick and a 2025 fifth-round pick. In exchange, the Bills received a 2025 second-rounder.

The financial hit of the trade was a tough pill to swallow for Bills Mafia. Buffalo was lambasted for getting fleeced in the deal, while the Texans were applauded. However, after Houston took an axe to Diggs’ $96 million contract, basically making him a one-year rental, the tables turned.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter posted on Thursday, April 4, “Added incentive for Stefon Diggs: As part of the Buffalo-Houston trade, the Texans wiped out the final three years on Diggs’ contract, giving him the ability to become a free agent after this season.

“The Texans also took the $3.5 million guaranteed to Diggs next season and moved up into this season, giving him a raise and assuring him of $22.52 million in guaranteed money in 2024. But if Diggs plays the way he wants, and Houston hopes, he will hit the free-agent market next offseason with the ability to make it count. Houston now anticipates getting the best version of Stefon Diggs.”

An extra-motivated Diggs sounds great in theory. But was one guaranteed year of his services worth a second-round pick? There’s also no chance of a receiving a compensatory pick if he walks. Pro Football Focus’ Brad Spielberger wrote, “Diggs will not be a compensatory free agent after 2024 because by shortening his contract, it did not reach the Maximum Possible Term.”

A fan posted, “All of the praise I gave Houston Front Office yesterday is gone. What a horrific trade by Houston. Diggs will leave y’all next season and you gave up a second-round pick.” Other fans complained Diggs will look to bounce to join his brother, Dallas Cowboys star Trevon Diggs, in 2025.

Texans are ‘Unlikely’ to Franchise Tag Stefon Diggs in 2025

SI’ Albert Breer pointed out another possible hiccup with Diggs’ new one-year deal. “If it’s done without dummy years on the back end, would also escalate Stefon Diggs’ franchise number to a spot where Houston would be unlikely to tag him next March. If his cap number for Houston is $22.52 million, his tag would be over $27 million,” Breer posted.

OvertheCapcom’s Jason Fitzgerald surmised, “Diggs 2022 extension has now become a one year, $43.1 million contract extension, all of which was guaranteed. Just an absurd win for a player.”

However, not everyone hated the restructured contract due to the fact Diggs turns 31 in November. Arrowhead Report’s Connor Christopherson wrote, “Texans learned from the Von Miller disaster in Buffalo. In trading for an older player, without guarantees on their contract anymore, the player usually pushes for a new deal. Texans, instead, realized this is terrible business for an aging player and chose a different path.”

SB Nation’s Nick Schwager sees the deal is a win-win for Houston. “If he plays well, he likely won’t make it to free agency anyway, would be in Houston long term.”

Stefon Diggs Thanked the Bills for the ‘4 Best Years of My Life’

While there were numerous red flags along the way, Diggs thrived in Buffalo, earning his first All-Pro honors in 2020 and making four straight Pro Bowl appearances. Catching passes from Bills quarterback Josh Allen, Diggs surpassed 1,000 receiving yards all four seasons. The Maryland alum finishes his tenure in Buffalo with 445 receptions for 5,372 yards and 37 touchdowns.

Diggs penned a heartfelt goodbye to Bills Mafia on Instagram after news of the trade was announced. He wrote, “I can’t begin to express the amount of love and respect I have for the city of Buffalo ♥️💙. Four of the best years of my life, the city welcomed me with open arms. I’m forever grateful for you all and the @buffalobills organization!

“Something special was built over these years with some very special men, that will always have a place in my heart. Billsmafia, so many great memories created throughout the years. Those games were crazy because of you. Sadly good things come to an end until we meet again ♾️ 14.”