How Does the Stefon Diggs Trade Impact the Draft?

AFC Wildcard Playoffs - Pittsburgh Steelers v Buffalo Bills
AFC Wildcard Playoffs - Pittsburgh Steelers v Buffalo Bills / Kathryn Riley/GettyImages

It wasn't hard to notice tension growing between the Buffalo Bills and Stefon Diggs since their January 2023 home Divisional Round 27-10 loss to the Bengals. Diggs was on the sidelines, raising his hands in frustration with quarterback Josh Allen. This moment in the Bengals' playoff loss was just the beginning of what has turned into a toxic situation.

Diggs skipped the team's mandatory minicamp, raising more concerns about his relationship with the Bills. When Diggs reported to training camp last July, he said it was nothing more than "family issues."  Now, eight months later, the Bills have traded Stefon Diggs for a 2025 second-round pick, a 2024 sixth-round pick, and a 2025 fifth-round pick.  

We've seen the impact Diggs can have on a young quarterback, as seen by Josh Allen's leap. Allen became an MVP-level quarterback once the Bills added Diggs, and now, joining C.J. Stroud in Houston, Allen may take Stroud to MVP heights as well.

Here's how the trade impacts everyone involved.

The Bills are now a significant question mark in the AFC

Josh Allen
AFC Divisional Playoffs - Kansas City Chiefs v Buffalo Bills / Perry Knotts/GettyImages

In the last four seasons, we've seen the Bills as Super Bowl contenders, but they've come up short time and time again, making the AFC Championship in Diggs' first year in Buffalo and not being able to make it past the Divisional Round since then. 

Buffalo has gone all-in the last four seasons to try to win a championship, but failing to do so has left its cap situation in shambles. Trading Diggs means the Bills will take on about $31 million in dead money, the highest dead money charge for a wide receiver ever. 

The Bills have tried to free up cap space, but with Josh Allen, Von Miller, who just turned 35 and had zero sacks last season, and others, this has left the Bills with about $4 million in cap space. This means you can expect Buffalo to take a look at the Draft in a few weeks. Buffalo sits at the 28th pick in the first round, but I'd be willing to bet they try to move up for one of the high-end receivers in a loaded Draft class. 

Buffalo could target Brian Thomas or AD Mitchell and even add another weapon later in the Draft. Still, even with the high potential of this receiver class, expecting a rookie to come in right away and elevate the offense is a lot to ask. 

Then there's the question of how the Bills will do in the AFC East. The Dolphins have lost a lot as well but still maintain a high-end offense with Tua Tagovailoa, Tyreek Hill, and Jaylen Waddle. The Jets return an elite defense and Aaron Rodgers, along with Garrett Wilson and Breece Hall. New York also owns the 10th overall pick in the Draft, potentially adding another elite player. 

Having Josh Allen still gives the Bills a chance to win the division, but Allen, who has already had to carry much of the weight in Buffalo, will now have to carry even more in 2024.

TheTexans may very well be the Chiefs biggest threat in the AFC

C.j. Stroud
AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Cleveland Browns v Houston Texans / Cooper Neill/GettyImages

Houston, with a rookie head coach and rookie quarterback, won the AFC South and a playoff game before falling short to the Ravens in the Divisional Round. The Texans were winners this offseason already, but now adding a top-10 receiver makes this team the biggest offseason winner. 

Since joining the Bills, Diggs has been nothing but elite. He is fourth in receiving yards (5,372), first in receptions (445), and tied for fourth in receiving touchdowns (37), all while being 19th in targets (12.1). Diggs went to four Pro Bowls and was a two-time All-Pro in Buffalo. 

Houston is going all in this offseason to win a Super Bowl while C.J. Stroud is still on his rookie deal and adding Diggs to an offense that already has a top-10 quarterback in Stroud, two dynamic receivers in Nico Collins and Tank Dell, a reliable tight end in Dalton Schlutz, and a Pro Bowl Left Tackle in Laremy Tunsil. 

C.J. Stroud put together one of the best rookie seasons we've seen in recent memory for quarterbacks, and he has the chance to lead the Texans into the AFC's elite. The AFC is a murderer's row with the back-to-back defending Super Bowl Champion Chiefs, the Bengals returning with a healthy Joe Burrow, the Ravens with two-time MVP Lamar Jackson, and they added Derrick Henry. 

The Texans don't just have an offense; they have a defense with loads of potential. Head Coach Demeco Ryans is the play-caller for the defense, which has a ton of young talent, like Defensive Rookie of the Year Will Anderson, safety Jalen Pitre, and emerging corner Derek Stingley Jr. They also added four-time Pro Bowler edge rusher Danielle Hunter.

Houston has a two-year Super Bowl window before they'll have to pay C.J. Stroud, but they've done an excellent job of not overpaying people, so when that two-year window closes, they should have no trouble retooling this roster. Houston had the 13th-ranked scoring offense in 2023 (22.7 PPG) and the 11th-ranked scoring defense (21.1 PPG allowed). This roster has the chance to make a huge leap in 2024. 

The Texans will have multiple games in 2024 to prove they're legit, with games against Baltimore, Dallas, Detroit, and Kansas City. It'll be interesting to see if they're ready for their new lofty expectations this season.