Examining What it Would Cost Broncos to Acquire WR Stefon Diggs via Trade from Vikings
With buzz that disgruntled wide receiver Stefon Diggs no longer wants to be with the Vikings, some Denver Broncos fans have suggested trading for Diggs.
There's no doubt that Diggs is a talented player. He is just 26 years old, won't turn 27 until November, and is thus in the prime of his career.
Diggs is a fast receiver, but I wouldn't call him a true 'burner', so he won't necessarily fill that role for a team. But he is a good route runner and would give the Broncos a good complementary receiver alongside Courtland Sutton.
Would it be wise for the Broncos to trade for him?
Diggs would count for $11.5 million against the cap if the Broncos acquired him via trade. The Vikings would have to eat a $9M dead money charge if such a trade happened before June 1 — and that figure would apply regardless of whether the CBA is extended before the start of the NFL league year. (Dead money from trades takes effect immediately and can't be designated post-June 1 if completed before June 1.)
For an idea about recent player trades, we can look at what the Pittsburgh Steelers got in exchange for Antonio Brown and what the Broncos got for Emmanuel Sanders last fall. In each case, a third-round pick was involved.
The Steelers also got a fifth-round pick from the Oakland Raiders, while the Broncos got a fourth-rounder and sent a fifth-rounder back to the San Francisco 49ers.
What happens next for the Broncos in free agency & the draft? Don't miss out on any news and analysis! Take a second and sign up for our free newsletter and get breaking Broncos news delivered to your inbox daily!
So it would be clear that a third-round pick would at least have to be part of the trade. The Broncos have three third-round picks, so they could afford to send one to the Vikings.
With that said, would a trade be possible? That's harder to say. There's no indication that the Vikings want to trade Diggs.
The player is reportedly unhappy with his situation in Minnesota but it at least doesn't appear to be hitting the level that Brown's did with the Steelers (and if that were the case, the Broncos likely wouldn't be interested). Because it's not, that doesn't mean the Vikings would be in a hurry to trade him.
On the other hand, the Vikings are projected to be more than $11M over the salary cap. Trading Diggs would free some space, so the incentive to gain cap space could be enough to drive the Vikings' asking price down.
But the Broncos also need to consider that Diggs has four years left on his contract. His 2020 and 2021 salaries are injury-only guaranteed. In 2022, his guarantees run out and that's also the time when Sutton's deal expires.
Diggs would have a base salary of $11.4M in 2022, but the Broncos might have to be prepared to trade or cut him, especially with other players who will be nearing the time for an extension.
The other thing the Broncos must consider is whether Diggs is seeking more money. If he wants a renegotiated contract, Denver would be remiss in giving him one.
And though Elway relented with Chris Harris, Jr. last season, that was a player who had been with the Broncos for some time and one in which the GM didn't do the best job of handling questions about an extension. In Diggs' case, I doubt Elway would be that quick to give him a raise.
With all that said, if the Vikings don't push for more than a third-round pick — though a swap of day-three picks could be considered — and Diggs doesn't push for a renegotiated contract, I would seriously consider a trade. Diggs would give you a talented player still in his prime who could provide immediate help to Drew Lock.
Diggs wouldn't be the answer to the Broncos need for a 'burner' at wide receiver, but he would bring enough of a speed element to help.
That leaves the only question; how much do the Vikings really want to trade Diggs?
If Minnesota is open to offers, the Broncos should explore the possibility. But if the Vikings publicly say "We don't want to trade Diggs," that's a sign they are asking for too much, and that the Broncos need to explore other options.
We'll see how it unfolds. Do you want to see Diggs in Denver? Sound off in the comment section below.