Why the Bills have traded Stefon Diggs to the Texans

It has been an offseason that has been packed full of blockbuster trades already, but the deal between the Buffalo Bills and the Houston Texans for Stefon Diggs might just be the spiciest of the lot.

The four-time Pro Bowl receiver is off to Houston, in exchange for a 2025 second-round pick (via Minnesota), with the Bills also sending a 2024 sixth-rounder and a 2025 fifth-round pick in the package for with Diggs. 

The move marks the end of an era in Buffalo, one which more recently seemed to be a somewhat toxic relationship between Diggs and the Bills organisation. Undoubtedly, the partnership between Diggs and quarterback Josh Allen has been one of the league’s best since Diggs joined in 2020, but it has been marred in recent times by speculated bust-ups, cryptic social media posts and outbursts of words.

Of course, the Bills have been incredibly successful since having Diggs on their team. Four straight AFC East title wins, and a number of memorable postseason moments for the team to look back on fondly. Many will feel that this period was one of what could have been, particularly because of those tight-margin defeats against the Chiefs that we’ve seen in the playoffs in recent years.

But Diggs wanted out, and on the face of it, the Bills are right to move him on.

How will this impact the Bills in 2024

It is no question that the Bills are weaker without Diggs, and further signifies the regression we’ve seen from the team over the past year.

Buffalo are going through what some might call a mini rebuild in 2024. Of course, with Josh Allen at QB, they are always going to be a competitive force, but they’ve already moved on a host of key, ageing players this offseason, including the likes of Tre’Davious White, Jordan Poyer and Gabe Davis. Diggs is now the highest profile departure, but there is reason for his exit.

The former Vikings was far from his best in 2023, and being the wrong side of 30, the Bills are looking to the future. Diggs was set to account for $27.8 million on the Bills cap this year and $27.3 million in 2025. By trading him, the $27.8 million cap plus all of his future salary goes with him to Houston. In Buffalo, it is replaced by a one-time $31.1 million cap hit, which is all the prorated bonus money he has already pocketed, so the Bills now have to immediately absorb on their 2024 cap.

Nonetheless, that $31.1 million is the largest non-quarterback dead cap hit in NFL history, but it doesn’t really kill the Bills. This is a move more for team building and team environment, and clearly Diggs wasn’t fitting into either priority. The second-round pick they acquired in return would be available until 2025, but is a more than valuable asset for a team in transition like the Bills.

On the flipside, the Texans have got a star wide receiver who can certainly get back to his top ability in Houston. With Nico Collins and Tank Dell already alongside, and CJ Stroud making the plays, Diggs brings a wealth of talent and experience to the Texans’ receiving corps, and pushing the team further into win-now mode as a result of their incredibly offseason so far.

His departure leaves Buffalo fairly depleted, but with James Cook’s stock rising, young weapons in Khalil Shakir and Dalton Kincaid, as well as the valuable veteran Curtis Samuel in the ranks, the Bills can build something promising in 2024 without their long-time star wideout.

Ultimately, this very much feels like a deal that suits all parties. A new start for Diggs and the Bills, and both will still be searching for a championship come the new season.