Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills must now prove they can without Stefon Diggs

AFC Divisional Playoffs - Kansas City Chiefs v Buffalo Bills
AFC Divisional Playoffs - Kansas City Chiefs v Buffalo Bills / Kathryn Riley/GettyImages

I am still floored that this trade happened. I said to myself that a Stefon Diggs trade was never going to happen. There are so many more questions than answers right now and only time will give us those answers.

But in the meantime, GM Brandon Beane assures us that this is not the Bills giving up on this season. It also is not inspiring a lot of confidence either. The Bills are eating $31 million in dead cap just to get a 2025 second round draft pick out of it. On the surface, this tells me the powers that be wanted Diggs gone no matter what. Now it’s all up to Josh Allen to carry this team by himself.

The Buffalo Bills receiving corps was a tale of two seasons in 2023. In weeks 1-13: 178.3 YPG (ranked 8th in NFL). Weeks 14-18:127.2 YPG (ranked 22nd in NFL). The firing of Ken Dorsey has a lot to do with this as the Bills offense did look much different with Joe Brady calling plays. Play action was used more and the running game was taking some pressure off of the passing game.

Kahlil Shakir also has emerged as a steadier target. In the last 10 games, Shakir had 37 targets with 462 yards while Diggs in that same span 80 targets with 422 yards.

I’m not saying Diggs is washed up, but Stefon Diggs wasn’t exactly what the Bills needed him to be in 2023. His last 100-yard game was Week 6 against the New York Giants. In Weeks 1-6, Diggs had 620 yards and five touchdowns. In the 11 games after the Giants game, Diggs had 563 yards and three touchdowns.

Not exactly what a team with Super Bowl aspirations needs out of their superstar, number one receiver. But in the game that mattered most, Stefon Diggs had three receptions and 21 yards on 8 targets. Kansas City went on to win the Super Bowl.

The Houston Texans are getting an All-Pro wide receiver with a lot left in the tank. But a recent development maybe changes the perception of this trade. ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter tweeted Houston is wiping out the last three years of Diggs’ contract, took $3.5 million guaranteed next season, and moved it to this season to bring his salary up to $22.52 million. The Texans gave up a second round pick next season for what is now a one-year rental.

I don’t foresee Stefon Diggs electing to re-sign in Houston in 2025 mostly because if he was excited about the prospect of being there for a while he wouldn’t have had the team wipe away the last three years of his contract. There is so much more to dissect here but really it becomes what does Buffalo do now?

Where do the Buffalo Bills go from here?

Brian Thomas Jr. is a name that is being attached to Buffalo a lot as of late. There is also Adonai Mitchell, Troy Franklin, and Ladd McConkey being projected to Buffalo as well. It remains to be seen if the Bills will trade up in the draft or stay at the 28th selection. I don't think you can hope one of these prospects falls to you that late in the draft so the Bills will have to move up if they want their guy. Without question, this draft becomes extremely important in the wake of Diggs’ exodus.

The Bills still have veteran options in free agency as Odel Beckham Jr. and Michael Thomas are free-agents but health is very much a concern with both of them. Whomever is brought in will need to contribute immediately because with or without Diggs the Bills are still going to have to prove they can win when it matters most and it is usually against Kansas City.