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#pounditSunday, June 16, 2024

Bills GM shares rationale behind trading Stefon Diggs

Stefon Diggs looking ahead

Dec 26, 2021; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) prior to a game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The relationship between Stefon Diggs and the Buffalo Bills seemed to deteriorate leading up to the star wide receiver being traded, but general manager Brandon Beane says there was one very simple factor in the decision — money.

Beane spoke about the Diggs trade during an interview with “The Athletic Football Show” that was released on Tuesday. When asked why the Bills chose to eat $31 million rather than spreading the money out across future seasons by trading Diggs after June 1, Beane said it was better for the team to clear Diggs’ contract sooner rather than later.

“A player of his caliber, you weigh a lot of things. But ultimately, we just talked about the (salary) cap. … I don’t need to go through all the reasons why we decided to go ahead and do that. I would say, from a cap standpoint, we decided just to go ahead and eat it out now,” Beane explained, as transcribed by Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports. “We think we can compete and do what we need to do by eating it now. Because if we didn’t, if we tried to come up with some way to split it up too many different ways, it’s just like that albatross hanging on your neck all year. … What’s ’25 look like? What’s ’26?”

What that essentially means is that the Bills had made up their minds about trading Diggs. They felt it was better to just take the $31 million on the chin now rather than dealing with a smaller hit over a longer period of time.

The Bills took a $31 million dead salary cap hit by trading Diggs to the Houston Texans before the NFL Draft. They lost roughly $4 million in cap space for this season but freed up $19 million for 2025. Had they waited too long and not been able to trade Diggs, releasing him would have created a much messier financial situation.

Diggs clearly had issues with the Bills prior to being traded. We will probably never know if that was more of a factor than the 4-year, $96 million contract he signed in 2022, but the drama almost certainly played a significant role in the decision.

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