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Morning Coffee: Bills believe they’re better off after Diggs trade

Stefon Diggs Buffalo Bills Stefon Diggs - Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

The Buffalo Bills front office decided the team is better off without Stefon Diggs on their roster.

That decision certainly speaks volumes about the predicament management found itself in.

I love the NFL off-season for a variety of different reasons.

My favourite part is the crumbs we can gather from the decisions organizations make that ultimately provide us with some insight into what is going on behind the scenes.

The details of Tuesday’s blockbuster trade are so much more than an ordinary off-season crumb.

The Bills traded Diggs to the Houston Texans, along with a 2024 sixth-round pick and a 2025 fifth-round pick, in exchange for a 2025 second-round pick.

Sure, we will never know all the details of what ultimately led to their decision.

Still, the combination of the current roster’s outlook, including at the wide receiver position in particular, combined with the timing of the move, offers some valuable insight into the motivation behind the decision the front office made.

This is the Morning Coffee for Thursday April 4, 2024.

Bills believe they’re better off after Diggs trade

Let’s start with the obvious winner of Tuesday’s blockbuster NFL trade.

The Texans added a veteran No. 1 wide receiver to a position group that already featured a pair of studs in Nico Collins and Tank Dell.

Regardless of what did or did not happen off the field, Diggs led the NFL in receptions and ranked fourth in both receiving yards and touchdown receptions during his four seasons in Buffalo.

Now he’s headed to Houston with plenty of motivation, where he’ll line up with Collins, Dell, Dalton Schultz, and Joe Mixon in an absolutely loaded offence.

No wonder C.J. Stroud is the third choice to win NFL regular season MVP at FanDuel in just his second season.

The fact that the Texans landed a player of Diggs’ calibre in exchange for a second-round pick in next year’s draft and still got back a 2024 sixth-round pick and a 2025 fifth-round pick in return makes the trade look like an absolute steal for a team that wants to win now.

Houston opened at 25-to-1 to win the Super Bowl. The Texans are down to 15-to-1 as the seventh choice to win it all at FanDuel this morning.

Interestingly, the Bills are one of the six teams with shorter odds to win the Super Bowl than Houston.

That’s despite a wide receiver room that now features Curtis Samuel, Khalil Shakir, and Mack Hollins.

There’s no need to sugar-coat it. Wide receiver was considered an obvious position of need for Buffalo – even with Diggs on the roster.

The fact that they traded their No. 1 option to an AFC rival should raise some eyebrows.

The fact that Buffalo was willing to absorb the largest single-season dead cap hit in NFL history for a non-quarterback to move on from Diggs in the second year of his four-year extension should set off alarms.

The Bills decision to trade Diggs before June 1 means that they will take on all $31 million of his dead cap hit for the 2024 season.

It’s the sixth-largest single-season dead cap hit in NFL history overall, regardless of position.

To be clear, we have literally never seen a legitimate Super Bowl contender eat this much dead cap space to move on from a star player at an obvious position of need before.

That tells you everything you need to know about how the Bills viewed the situation.

The Texans are the obvious winner in the Diggs trade. At the same time, it’s not entirely unlikely that Buffalo is better off in the long run without Diggs on the roster.

It’s hard to imagine a scenario where Bills GM Brandon Beane trades his star receiver if he believed that was untrue.

Regardless of Diggs’ overall production in recent years, the front office in Buffalo still believed its best option was to trade him when they did.

They wouldn’t reach that conclusion without a plan in place to address the position.

Whether or not their plan ultimately works out is another story altogether.

If the Bills use the draft pick they acquired from the Texans to trade for a player of Brandon Aiyuk’s calibre, would they be better or worse off than they were at the start of the week?

Could they acquire a talent like Tee Higgins in a trade?

Buffalo opened at 12-to-1 to win the Super Bowl. The Bills are currently 13-to-1 to win it all at FanDuel.

A slight adjustment, but not one that knocks them outside of the top six choices to win the Super Bowl.

Plus, they have a 2025 second-round pick that could be utilized to upgrade the position.

We don’t know what the Bills will do next.

We do know that the front office believed that the team was better off without Diggs on the roster.

We also know that there wasn’t a big market for Diggs. If there was, Buffalo would have got more for him.

The Texans are the obvious winner of Tuesday’s trade after upgrading their offence with the addition of Diggs.

At the same time, the trade could still benefit the Bills in the long run. It all depends on what they do next.

All eyes are on Buffalo now to see how management will address the wide receiver position.

That’s another reason the NFL off-season is so fun to follow.