Stefon Diggs Trade Grade: How Did Texans and Bills Fare in Blockbuster Deal?

The Texans added another significant piece to their offense on Wednesday, acquiring former All-Pro WR Stefon Diggs from the Bills. Let's grade the trade.

The Houston Texans wanted to add another receiver to quarterback C.J. Stroud’s arsenal of weapons — and apparently, they didn’t want to wait until the 2024 NFL Draft.

The Texans struck on Wednesday, acquiring standout wide Stefon Diggs from the Buffalo Bills in exchange for a 2025 second-round pick.

How does Diggs change Houston’s offense, and what sort of risk are the Texans taking by landing a 30-year-old pass catcher? What does moving Diggs mean for Josh Allen and the Bills, who also lost WR Gabe Davis to free agency last month? Let’s grade the trade for both teams.

Texans Take Risk on Aging Stefon Diggs

Here are the full terms of today’s trade, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter:

  • Texans receive: WR Stefon Diggs, 2024 sixth-round pick (No. 189), 2025 fifth-round pick
  • Bills receive: 2025 second-round pick (via MIN)

It’s a similar trade to the deal that sent fellow veteran WR Keenan Allen from the Los Angeles Chargers to the Chicago Bears in March.

Most NFL teams discount future selections by one round, meaning the Texans — in essence — gave up a 2024 third-round choice. Chicago only sacrificed a 2024 fourth-rounder for Allen, but Houston received picks coming back its way and will pay Diggs roughly $4 million less than Allen this season. Diggs, 30, is also 17 months younger than Allen.

If the Texans get the 2020 through 2022 version of Diggs, this trade will be a home run. Diggs led the NFL in catches (127) and yards (1,535) in 2020 while earning first-team All-Pro honors, then topped 1,400 yards and hauled in a career-high 11 touchdowns in 2022 as a second-team All-Pro.

However, Diggs showed obvious signs of decline in 2023. He slowed down over the stretch run, failing to surpass 100 yards in a game after Week 7 and eclipsing 70 yards just four times during that span.

Diggs, who had ranked as a top-six wideout in ESPN’s player tracking metrics every season from 2019 through 2022, fell to just 67th last year. His “open” score fell from third in 2021 to seventh in 2022 before dropping all the way to 21st in 2023.

The Bills — the team that knows Diggs best — were willing to move on and lose salary cap space to get rid of him.

But the Texans aren’t necessarily asking Diggs to become a WR1. Nor are they paying him like one.

Houston already rosters Nico Collins, who broke out for an 80-1,297-8 line last season and finished second to only Tyreek Hills in yards per route run (3.21).

The Texans have 2023 standout rookie Tank Dell, who averaged more than 15 yards per catch before suffering a season-ending injury in December. They acquired and extended RB Joe Mixon, re-upped TE Dalton Schultz, and boast a top-10 offensive line.

Diggs can become the league’s highest-end No. 2 WR for Houston, which will pay him roughly $19 million this season. That’s right between Diontae Johnson’s and Chris Godwin’s average annual values. The Texans will also hold de facto $18-19 million options on Diggs in 2026 and 2027.

Houston is absorbing inherent risk by grabbing older wideout who could be on the precipice of a decline, so we can’t give general manager Nick Caserio and head coach DeMeco Ryans an “A” grade.

Still, Diggs’ upside, price point, and roster fit on a Texans team clearly gunning for a Super Bowl made too much sense to pass up.

Grade: B+

Bills Starting Over at WR After Trading Diggs

If we’re grading the Bills on the roster-building strategy that got them to the point of trading Diggs while eating cap space, we’d give them an “F.”

Diggs still had two years remaining on his existing contract in April when Buffalo handed him an unnecessary four-year, $96 million that contained $70 million in total guarantees.

That decision — as well as GM Brandon Beane’s misguided signing of EDGE Von Miller one month earlier — ultimately led to the 2024 roster purge that saw Buffalo part ways with Diggs, Gabe Davis, Micah Hyde, Jordan Poyer, Tre’Davious White, Leonard Floyd, and others.

The Bills’ current WR depth chart also gets a failing grade. With Diggs, Davis, and Deonte Harty gone, the club’s top wideouts are free agent signings Curtis Samuel and Mack Hollins, 2022 fifth-round pick Khalil Shakir, and 2023 fifth-round pick Justin Shorter. Buffalo might be forced to select a receiver with their first-round choice in the 2024 NFL Draft.

However, the Bills made the best of their situation this offseason. Eating salary cap space while trading a player like Diggs is never Plan A. But if interpersonal issues between the two sides had become too severe to overcome, garnering a future second-round pick is a decent outcome.

Buffalo will save over $19 million in cash this year, while Diggs will be entirely removed from its salary cap accounting by 2025. The upcoming campaign always seemed like a reset year for the cap-strapped Bills, and the Diggs trade makes 2025 even more of a step-back year.

Grade: C+

KEEP READING: Will the Bills Sign Stefon Diggs’ Replacement or Trade For Brandon Aiyuk or Tee Higgins?

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