The Buffalo Bills and Stefon Diggs could realistically part ways this offseason. One receiver they’re targeting in the trade market could replace him.
Optically, it did not seem as though Stefon Diggs was enjoying himself with the Buffalo Bills in 2022. He appeared distant at best from his quarterback, Josh Allen, and head coach, Sean McDermott. At worst, he threw tantrums that made his discontent with the team clear. He screamed at Allen for not getting him the ball. Multiple times.
Interviews with media in Buffalo and beyond since the season has ended have appeared to attempt to smooth things over between Diggs and the Bills and provide justification for his visceral, on-camera reactions, but those attempts have been futile. Diggs has appeared unhappy, and he’s expressed his feelings diplomatically, but he’s clearly upset by the results.
In fairness, everyone in Buffalo is disappointed. The expectation and goal has been a Super Bowl win. The Bills have yet to advance past the AFC Championship in this era. But there’s a fine line between competitive disappointment fueling a reinvigorated commitment and a desire to move on to something new.
Diggs’s brother, a defensive back for the Dallas Cowboys, has attempted repeatedly to get him to Texas.
There’s no known push to trade Diggs from the front office’s side, and no clear request for a trade from Diggs, though one has to assume he’d be open to the idea of new scenery given his actions and comments.
New activity from the Bills in the NFL rumors world might get that speculation moving again, though…
Bills are interested in DeAndre Hopkins according to NFL rumors
Aaron Wilson, who covers the Texans, reported that the Bills are the leaders in the pursuit of Arizona Cardinals star receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Keep in mind Hopkins started his career in Houston.
Benjamin Allbright followed up and confirmed that report, though he didn’t go so far as to say Buffalo was in the lead of the race.
Wilson’s report suggested the Ravens and Chiefs are not involved, which is great news for Buffalo if true. Two AFC teams that could feasibly go up against them in the playoff push in 2023 remaining uninterested means it’s less likely Hopkins will be a problem if Buffalo can’t land him.
And remember, Hopkins has been a problem for the Bills in the past. He secured a hail-mary from Kyler Murray that sealed a Cardinals win in the final seconds against the Bills where he displayed his hops, catching the ball over three Bills in the vicinity.
Should the Bills lose Diggs, Hopkins would be an excellent backfill. Both receivers are athletically capable complements to Josh Allen’s arm. While Allen can place the ball with pinpoint accuracy in tight windows, both Diggs and Hopkins have the hands to make sure those balls don’t fall flat (both above 67% in catch percentage last season).
Hopkins also ranks incredibly high in receiving yards per game among receivers above 10,000 yards, as Pro Football Reference pointed out on Twitter on Thursday:
Hopkins ranked 10th in the NFL in receiving yards per game in 2022, Diggs was fourth.
Hopkins is just two years removed from a 1,400-yard season, and has kept his yards per reception above 11.0 the last two seasons. He only appeared in 19 games in 2021 and ’22 combined but looks like he’ll be ready to go for a full slate in 2023, barring roadblocks.
While it might read like the Bills panicking and looking for a solution to a possibly-departing Diggs, Buffalo fans should try being optimistic for once… Maybe they’ll get both receivers.
Imagine Allen with Hopkins and Diggs… Hoo boy!