WR Stefon Diggs speaks on trade from Bills: I could 'feel it in the air'

Former Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs has shared insight into his departure from the team.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) can   t make the catch on this deep throw by Josh Allen.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) can t make the catch on this deep throw by Josh Allen. / Jamie Germano/Rochester Democrat and

What a difference a year makes.

After stealing headlines for missing a mandatory June 2023 practice at One Bills Drive, perennial Pro Bowl wide receiver Stefon Diggs reiterated his intention to retire as a member of the Buffalo Bills.

Less than one year later, the only thing tying him to the organization is his $31 million dead cap hit on its payroll.

The Bills traded Diggs to the Houston Texans in early April, receiving a second-round pick in the 2025 NFL Draft in exchange for its fourth-all-time leading receiver. The trade served as an uncinematic, unclimactic end to what was an otherwise dominant stint for Diggs in Western New York; he tallied 445 receptions for 5,372 and 37 touchdowns throughout his four seasons with the team, establishing himself as one of the best wide receivers in the NFL as he helped quarterback Josh Allen ascend into mainstream superstardom.

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There were signs that the marriage would be coming to a premature and unsatisfying conclusion, however, the first perhaps coming in the form of his on-field shouting match with Allen during Buffalo’s 2022 AFC Divisional Round loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. The wideout then missed the team’s first mandatory minicamp practice of the 2023 season, setting the stage for a new campaign that simply felt strange from the start.

Diggs looked like his generally excellent self throughout the first few weeks of the 2023 season, but his production dipped after the team fired offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey midway through the campaign. The Bills promoted quarterbacks coach Joe Brady to offensive play-caller, with Diggs’s role and production diminishing as the team became a more ground-oriented attack; the wideout averaged 10.2 targets per game in contests in which Dorsey called plays, this number dropping to 8.3 after Brady took over. 

The shift in offensive philosophy led Diggs to believe that his days in Buffalo were numbered. He spoke about his final months with the Bills to the Houston press on Tuesday, stating that he felt the trade was coming.

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“For me, not trying to get too personal, but I kind of felt that it was going in that direction,” Diggs said. “Throughout the season we had some ups and downs, especially after the first eight, we had coaching shifting and different things going different ways, different scheme [and] schematics, the ups and downs of it. For me, you kind of feel it in the air a little bit, especially personal feelings. When I got traded, I was happy, I was in a good place.”

The departure of Diggs removes 160 targets, 1,183 yards, and eight touchdowns from Buffalo’s receiving corps; in his absence, the team hopes to spread this production amongst third-year contributor Khalil Shakir, second-year tight end Dalton Kincaid, rookie Keon Coleman, and free agent signee Curtis Samuel.

Premature ending aside, Diggs does not appear to hold any animosity toward his former employer or peers, telling Houston reporters that Allen is “still [his] guy.” He’ll have the opportunity to face his former team when the Texans host the Bills in Week 5 of the 2024 NFL season.

Kyle Silagyi