‘Stef can still play’: Bills not worried about Stefon Diggs’ late-season production woes

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The lack of production from Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs over the last several weeks has been a talking point among fans and coaches alike.

The 30-year-old failed to bring in a key deep pass from quarterback Josh Allen during the fourth quarter of Buffalo’s playoff loss to Kansas City on Sunday, prompting questions about Diggs’ effectiveness as a top receiving threat for the Bills going forward.

After totaling 620 receiving yards on 49 receptions through the first six games of the season, Diggs managed just 636 yards on 68 catches over Buffalo’s final 13 contests. However, the star receiver still posted 1,000 yards for the fourth consecutive season, making him the first Bill in franchise history to do so.

Despite Diggs’ drop-off in numbers as the year progressed, general manager Brandon Beane said that their top receiver remains a significant part of the offense.

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“Stef, he’s a number one receiver,” Beane said. “I firmly believe that, not wavering off of that. … Stef can still play, I’m sure he would love to have that deep ball again, he’d be the first to tell you. He’s super competitive, he’s gonna work his tail off this offseason.”

Beane added that the Bills “wouldn’t hesitate” to bring in another receiving option alongside Diggs to help reduce defensive attention on him, whether that be in free agency or the draft.

We have to continue to put weapons out there to keep teams from bracketing him or you know, locking him down in different ways to take him away,” Beane said. “They know you are going to want him.”

Head coach Sean McDermott echoed Beane’s comments, calling Diggs a “great player” and “phenomenal teammate,” but adding that he didn’t have much of an explanation for the receiver’s underwhelming stats later in the season.

“I can’t say in particular why [Diggs’ production dropped],” McDermott said. “If I could, we would flip it back that way, right, to the way it started earlier in the year. Sometimes defenses evolve, sometimes there are more things on tap through the course of the season and people copy them, what’s on tape.”

Diggs is under contract with Buffalo through the 2027 season and currently boasts an over $27 million cap hit for 2024, though that number could be restructured to save on the salary cap.

If the Bills do intend to add more weapons alongside Diggs, they will be limited. Buffalo is currently projected to be roughly $43 million over the salary cap for 2024 according to Spotrac, meaning any free-agent budget they have will be scarce. As for the draft, the Bills currently hold nine selections, including No. 28 in the first round, and are expected to add a third-round compensatory pick after losing Tremaine Edmunds to free agency.

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Adam Gorski is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team in 2022. You can find more of his work here.

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