Bills GM Details How Stefon Diggs Blockbuster Came Together

Sal Capaccio
April 02, 2020 - 1:37 pm
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Trading for Stefon Diggs may have come together quickly, but it was something on the mind of Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane for quite some time.

“I think it was pretty open that we were snooping around mid-season to make a trade for another receiver and we just couldn't find a deal that worked for us,” Beane told the local Buffalo media via a video conference call on Thursday, referring to last season. 

“Stefon was one that we had looked into at that point, along with some other guys, and Minnesota was not willing to part with him at that point. But we checked back in and it didn't seem like a definitive 100% ‘no.’ They just said, ‘listen, we're not shopping him. We just agreed to a contract a little over a year ago.’ “

From there, he said the Minnesota Vikings indicated they would at least listen to offers, but if they did made a deal, it would have to be for something valuable since he was their No. 1 wide receiver and they’d have to replace him.

As the new league year was approaching on Wednesday, March 18 and teams were allowed to begin talking with representatives for pending free agents the Monday before that, the Bills began to look around, seeing what was available to them and what their options were. 

Beane also stayed in contact with the Vikings about Diggs.

“At the end of the night, I told Minnesota, 'hey, we'll circle back,’ and they were starting to get a little antsy because they were getting pressure,” Beane said. “There were some other teams involved and so we worked on it, probably around 9:45 p.m. or so, and I think 20-30 minutes later, we got it knocked out.”

The Bills ultimately traded their first round pick, a fifth round pick, and sixth round selection in the year’s NFL Draft, along with a fourth round pick in 2021 for Diggs and a seventh-round pick back from the Vikings.

Originally a fifth round pick out of Maryland in 2015, Diggs played five years for the Vikings, tallying 365 catches for 4,623 yards and 30 touchdowns. His 4,623 yards rank 14th in the NFL over that time period. He caught 63 passes for 1,130 yards last season, averaging 17.9 yards a reception, which was fourth-most in the NFL.

Beane also addressed the perception that some have about Diggs’ personality, saying they did their due diligence on him and feel comfortable about the person they’re bringing into the locker room.

“I think one of the misnomers out there is that we're looking for all choir boys and that's not accurate. We're looking for professionals,” Beane said. “I would say this about him. He's a very competitive guy. I mentioned earlier, [he was] one of the guys that we looked at, at the trade deadline. So we did some recon there.”

Beane mentioned Bills director of College Scouting Terrance Gray, who was in Minnesota when Diggs was drafted and the first two years of his career there, as someone they relied on to help gather info and know more about the player, adding “there were other connections from people that coached him in college that we have people on our staff. So we did do some digging. This guy's a super competitive guy and brings an edge to that position. I know ’diva’ gets put into [wide receiver] a lot. I would not call this guy a ‘diva.’ I would call him more of what I think what he was referring to in Josh Allen is as ‘a dog.’ I think he will fit in. I don't know all of everything that went on in Minnesota. I'm sure like anything there's two sides to every story. I'm sure there's things that he probably wishes he would maybe have handled better in retrospect, but it's a clean slate here, and we believe in our culture, and we believe the facts that we know about him. We believe he will be a fit here.”

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