Brandon Beane explains the decision to keep, and pay, Stefon Diggs

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The NFL currently has two dramatically different schools of thought when it comes to receivers. Some will pay big money (and trade real assets) for a proven player. Others will resort to the draft. Others who have a proven player will happily trade the player and backfill with a rookie, like the Titans did in the 2022 draft.

The Bills acquired their top receiver after he sought a trade from the Vikings, but not over money. Two years later, it was time to pay Stefon Diggs. So how and why did the Bills decide to wife a market-level contract to Diggs in lieu of looking to replace him with a promising young receiver? I asked Beane that question during a Monday visit to #PFTPM.

“You got a proven product, a guy who’s been in your building, who’s got a relationship with your quarterback,” Beane said of Diggs. “And ultimately you have to have a cutoff just like you do when you go in to buy a house. You’re going, ‘All right we’d like to buy the house for this, but we’re walking away at this number,’ and you kind of set those parameters before you do a deal. And ultimately I think Stef and his agent did a fair job of pointing out their points of even where the number two [receiver] market has gone to why the number one [receiver] market should be. Tyreek Hill, Davante Adams had gotten done before ours. I just try to envision, ‘All right we can either sign him to an extension, maybe he plays it out but maybe we have some issues with that down the line, or we can go the route that some teams are choosing trade and redraft [a new receiver] but I just couldn’t imagine where we’re getting, what we were going to get to replace Stef in the sense of what he brings to our offense. He opens it up for Gabe Davis, for Dawson Knox, and some of the other guys that we have here. We’re a different offense without Stef.”

At a time when other teams are releasing the bird in the hand in the hopes of finding a cheaper bird that hopefully will fly as effectively, Beane underscored the value of having a guy who has shown he can get it done at a high level.

“I mean, I haven’t been around very many number one receivers in Carolina,” Beane said of the team with which he worked for years before becoming the Buffalo G.M. “We had Steve Smith, and he was a clear number one. And when we got here, our offense hit another level when we got a true number one guy. To say that I’m definitely going to hit on that in the draft where we’ve been drafting, that seemed like more of a risk I wasn’t willing to take, if we could get Stef done at a number that made sense for him and made sense for us, which fortunately, we did.”

It’s a sensible approach, and it works for the Bills. Other teams are choosing different approaches. That’s what makes the issue so compelling. And that’s why how these receivers perform in the coming years will be so instructive as to which way is the right way, and which way is the wrong way.

14 responses to “Brandon Beane explains the decision to keep, and pay, Stefon Diggs

  1. As more top level receivers are coming from the college ranks, there is logic in trading in vets for that rookie contract. In Diggs case, aside from his route running supremacy, he brings an intangible that I goes beyond his talent. Sometimes, you get that guy whose contributions to team can not be replaced by just another guy.

  2. Best GM in the league. Leading Buffalo to the next NFL dynasty.

  3. Sometimes, you get that guy whose contributions to team can not be replaced by just another guy.
    //////////////
    Right, but if said guy is consuming so much cap space to prevent other key signings, and it could be a “several for one” vs a one for one, like what Adams’ trade did for Green Bay.

  4. Allen and Diggs are currently the face of the Bills offense. If you remove either guy that identity becomes blurred. I know it, Beane knows it, Bills mafia knows it… Diggs isn’t going anywhere. #Allen&Diggs2022

  5. Before the salary cap, teams followed Beane’s philosophy. It restores my faith in the league that there is this caliber of GM who can see beyond the insanity of the salary cap and chasing cheap 1st contracts! I hope he becomes a role model for the rest of the league!

  6. Seemed like a no-brainer decision to me. Diggs has been everything people said he wasn’t.

  7. For me, there is a real intangible about Diggs. Buffalo’s acquisition of him is when things really turned up a notch, and they became a real contender.

    He’s also been a great leader on the team. I’m glad they made the investment to keep him in Buffalo.

  8. This Vikings fan has always loved Diggs — he’s weird as hell but by all accounts he’s a good teammate and his on-field performance needs no further comment. Having said that, the Vikes had no problem replacing him, although I think that was 75% pure luck.

  9. Diggs made Josh Allen and other Buffalo receivers. He gets the best corner freeing up Davis and Knox. It reminds me of how important AB was for the Pittsburgh offense. AB made Big Ben a 5000 yards QB and Juju Smith-Schuster a 1400 yards receiver. When AB left, Big Ben and Juju’s numbers dropped. Buffalo can’t afford to lose Diggs.

  10. patsfan4lifedynasty says:
    May 3, 2022 at 1:33 pm
    Diggs made Josh Allen and other Buffalo receivers. He gets the best corner freeing up Davis and Knox. It reminds me of how important AB was for the Pittsburgh offense. AB made Big Ben a 5000 yards QB and Juju Smith-Schuster a 1400 yards receiver. When AB left, Big Ben and Juju’s numbers dropped. Buffalo can’t afford to lose Diggs.
    ———

    Yeah it was AB who made Big Ben. Not the other way around

  11. “We don’t think the quarterback is a huge factor. The wide receivers are the players that get it done.”
    -Javon Walker, Greg Jennings, James Jones.

  12. Well we all know this is a business, except some players. I’am all for players instead of owners getting the $ money while they can. I’d like to replace my Bently every yr. But I need to afford one first

  13. george1859 says:
    May 3, 2022 at 9:56 am
    As more top level receivers are coming from the college ranks, there is logic in trading in vets for that rookie contract. In Diggs case, aside from his route running supremacy, he brings an intangible that I goes beyond his talent. Sometimes, you get that guy whose contributions to team can not be replaced by just another guy.
    //////
    And yet, the Vikings literally and immediately replaced the guy you are talking about, with a better and cheaper WR. Not saying Diggs isn’t great. Just saying he was easily replaced.

  14. purpleguy says:
    May 3, 2022 at 12:56 pm
    This Vikings fan has always loved Diggs — he’s weird as hell but by all accounts he’s a good teammate and his on-field performance needs no further comment. Having said that, the Vikes had no problem replacing him, although I think that was 75% pure luck.
    ///////
    Why was it luck? JJ was there. The Vikings drafted him, unlike some other teams. And then Kirk Cousins immediately made him a star.

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