Get Ready for Hot Rumor Mill around Former Vikings Star

Bills fans celebrate at the end of the game. The Buffalo Bills beat the New York Jets 45-17 at Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ on November 14, 2021. The Buffalo Bills Play The New York Jets At Metlife Stadium In East Rutherford Nj On November 14 2021. © Chris Pedota, / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Where do they go from here?

That’s what most Buffalo Bills fans will ask themselves in the next several weeks leading up to free agency, as the formidable AFC threat just can’t quite make it to the Super Bowl.

Get Ready for Hot Rumor Mill around Former Vikings Star

The Kansas City Chiefs bounced the Bills from the postseason tournament on Sunday night — again — so it’s back to the drawing board for Buffalo. The team was ravaged by injuries in 2023, especially on defense, but many NFL fans had high hopes in the postseason for the Bills, mainly because the Divisional Round showdown occurred in Buffalo, not Kansas City. In the end, it didn’t matter as Patrick Mahomes and Co. jettisoned the Bills from the playoffs for the third time in four seasons.

Hot Rumor Mill
Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports.

So, now what for Buffalo? The outlook is grim financially. The Bills’ front office must become creative in the next several months with the budget, and as a result, one former Vikings is expected to enter the rumor mill — Stefon Diggs.

DraftKing’s Chet Gresham wrote this week in an article about Diggs’ trade worth, “Diggs is 30 years old and after starting hot, had a down second half of the 2023 season. He was even outplayed statistically by Khalil Shakir by many metrics. The decline for wide receivers comes later on average than running backs, but there is a decline and with more receivers putting up good numbers their rookie years, on rookie contracts, it’s easier to cut bait on a 30-year old receiver that you have to pay a whole bunch of money to.”

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Indeed, Diggs’ production quieted in 2023. For some reason, he stopped producing 100+ yard receiving games after October 15th. There’s always a chance he was dealing with an undisclosed injury, but if not, it seemed Diggs hit a feared age-related decline.

Moreover, Buffalo’s problem is money, specifically wind-falling contracts. Josh Allen’s 2023 cap number was $18.6 million — it climbs to $47 million in 2024 and $56.5 million in 2025. Diggs’ cap number was $14.8 million this season, escalating to $27.8 million in 2024. The Bills essentially have “the Chiefs problem” from the 2022 offseason: “How do we pay the QB1 and WR1?”

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

And that means Diggs departure rumors will be front and center. Yes, those will be on top of any possible Diggs-disgruntlement “new beginning” tweets. He’s played for the Bills in four seasons: 2020, 2021, 2022, and 2023. The result is always the same — get to the playoffs and lose to the Chiefs or Bengals.

A Diggs trade can become financially realistic after June 1st. Buffalo will still eat ample dead cap money but would save north of $18 million per season through the end of 2027 if it can find a dance partner in a Diggs trade. A team like the Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, New England Patriots, or Tennessee Titans, for example, might embrace such a swap.

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports.

Overall, one item is certain: The Bills’ one big shot to win a chip was in 2023. From here on out, the money gets tight, and offloading Diggs a la Hill and the Chiefs two years ago could be around the bend.

The Bills will start the 2024 offseason about $52.5 million underwater via the salary cap, also known as the fourth-worst standing in the NFL.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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