Grading the Stefon Diggs trade: Texans vault into Super Bowl mix; Bills shed salary, drama

The Buffalo Bills traded wide receiver Stefon Diggs to the Houston Texans for a second-round draft pick in 2025 (via the Minnesota Vikings). The Texans also received a sixth-rounder in 2024 and a fifth-rounder in 2025.

Why they made the trade

Diggs and the Bills had been a rocky terrain for a bit — as The Athletic’s Tim Graham reported in detail here — and the 30-year-old’s production waned in the second half of last season. The Bills must have believed Diggs reached a point where his career has plateaued or worse, and they no longer believed the juice was worth the squeeze.

The Bills lost about $4 million in 2024 cap space by moving Diggs — a byproduct of his most recent extension from the 2022 offseason. That last deal made sense at the time because it vaulted Diggs toward the top of the market after two huge seasons with the Bills, but it’s going to sting the books now.


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That sets up an interesting dichotomy with the Bills, who remain in a quasi-win-now mode with quarterback Josh Allen in his prime but also recognize a shift in 2025 with added cap space and an additional second-round pick at their disposal.

The Texans are enjoying the luxury of a star quarterback on a rookie contract, so they’re adding a receiver who has averaged 111.3 catches, 1,343 yards and 9.3 touchdowns over the past four seasons.

That’s a massive boost for burgeoning superstar C.J. Stroud. They’ve already got a talented offense around the 2023 first-round pick, and that group just got a lot more dangerous.

Trade grade (Texans): A-minus

Stroud wasn’t just the best rookie last season. There’s a case to be made he was one of the five best quarterbacks in the NFL.

Now, adding Diggs and running back Joe Mixon, Texans general manager Nick Caserio is setting up Stroud for even more success in his second season. They’re also returning receivers Nico Collins, Tank Dell and John Metchie, along with tight end Dalton Schultz.

And don’t forget the Texans beefed up their defensive line with the additions of star pass rusher Danielle Hunter as well as the underrated Denico Autry. They’ll be legitimate Super Bowl contenders if Stroud plays at an MVP level.

If Diggs is still a No. 1 receiver, the Texans’ trade grade would reach A or A-plus levels. But even if he is in a regression and Collins continues his upward trajectory as a true No. 1, Diggs would still be extremely valuable as a top-end No. 2.

Diggs’ contract is manageable for Houston. It runs through 2027 with minimal guaranteed money on the books, and his cap hit will never reach $20 million in any season, presuming an extension or a good-faith raise isn’t coming anytime soon. The Texans should expect this arrangement to last at least two or three years, but they can get out of the contract if anything veers off course.

Head coach DeMeco Ryans will now encounter a new challenge. The Texans are no longer plucky underdogs with a roster mixed with blue-chip prospects and lunch-pail veterans. This group is talented enough to make some noise, and there’s always some unknown when adding high-priced veterans to the mix.

But that’s a road worth traveling when the final stop could be in New Orleans in February.

Trade grade (Bills): B-minus

This was already a tricky offseason for the Bills, who offloaded key veterans to reset the books and just erased 152 catches, 1,929 yards and 15 touchdowns from the receiver room with the trade of Diggs and the loss of Gabe Davis in free agency.

But Diggs’ production deteriorated along the way. He didn’t tally a 100-yard game after Week 6 and topped six catches just three times in that final stretch of 13 games, including the playoffs. He totaled 24 receptions, 214 yards and no touchdowns as the Bills closed the regular season with a five-game winning streak, which coincided with quarterback Josh Allen rocketing himself into the MVP race.



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The closing stretch was worse for Davis, who had four catches for 130 yards and a touchdown in Week 16 against the Chargers but just two grabs for 21 yards throughout the rest of that five-game win streak. He was inactive in both playoff games.

So yeah, it’s fair to wonder how the Bills will look in 2024 because it will be so different. But it’s also fair to believe general manager Brandon Beane didn’t just strip the offense around Allen without a strong belief the quarterback play will remain strong. After all, Allen went from an MVP afterthought into a fifth-place finish because of that late-season push.

This move might actually free up Allen. It was evident at times that he’d force the ball downfield to Diggs, and the return on those throws was diminishing. The Bills added Curtis Samuel in free agency, but there will undoubtedly be hiccups with a younger group of pass catchers as Patrick Mahomes faced without Tyreek Hill, but it’s perhaps never been easier to replenish the position in the draft.

Ideally, the Bills would have found a way to make this work for one more season due to the cap ramifications. Evidently, that wasn’t their plan. And while they only got a second-round pick a year from now, it’s fair to assume that’s significantly more than they could have gotten from anyone else, considering they just helped the Texans reach contender status.

Or maybe, the Bills truly know they’re getting out a year early rather than a year too late. If that’s the case, Beane will have earned a victory lap.

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(Photo of Stefon Diggs: Timothy T Ludwig / Getty Images)

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