A strange storm is brewing over Buffalo, and not the kind that is going to force the Bills to play in Detroit.
Wide receiver Stefon Diggs was absent from mandatory minicamp Tuesday, according to coach Sean McDermott, while the rest of the Bills were in attendance. McDermott made no bones about how he felt about Diggs' absence, saying he's "very concerned" about the absence.
McDermott, however, did not elaborate, adding "I'm not gonna get into [why]. Listen, I respect everyone's questions and what they wanna know about our team right now. I'm just not gonna get into that right now, anymore."
Adding to the oddness around the situation, Adam Schefter reported that Diggs' agent has said Diggs is in Buffalo and has met with McDermott and GM Brandon Beane, and will be there for camp.
Stefon Diggs’ agent, Adisa Bakari, said his client is in Buffalo, has been in Buffalo since yesterday morning, took his physical, met with the head coach and GM the past two days and the Pro-Bowl WR “will be there for the entirety of the minicamp.”— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 13, 2023
The Bills added Diggs was present Monday and appeared Tuesday, but left before practice, per Mike Florio.
Per the Bills, Stefon Diggs was present on Monday. He was present on Tuesday morning. He left before the start of practice.— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) June 13, 2023
Diggs' agent did somewhat cryptically say the team is looking work something out with Diggs, but did not specify what it is.
Clearly, if Diggs is there Wednesday it is all much ado about nothing. If he's absent, questions will continue to swirl (and he would be fined per absence).
It's a strange situation, to be sure. Dust has largely set around the wide receiver market that exploded last offseason, and Diggs signed an extension at that time. Adding fuel to the "reality TV drama" fire is that Diggs was seen visibly frustrated with Josh Allen during the divisional round against the Bengals last year.
Bills Head Coach Sean McDermott is “very concerned” that Stefan Diggs is not at Bills mandatory minicamp.— Odds Shark (@OddsShark) June 13, 2023
The last time Diggs was in a Bills uniform he was yelling at Josh Allen in their 27-10 blowout loss in the Playoffs against the Bengals. pic.twitter.com/JCcToWSCrF
This is also a shift in tone from McDermott, who has downplayed Diggs' absence from voluntary team activities, the first time he's skipped.
“We’d love to have him here," McDermott said before mandatory activities, per Yahoo. I’d love to have him here. I understand that, I mean, OTAs aren’t for everybody. And again, it is voluntary at the end of the day."
Stefon Diggs contract
Diggs' contract was restructured in March, clearing some space for the Bills. In the 2022 offseason, he signed a four-year, $96 million extension with the Bills that would keep him in Buffalo through the 2027 season.
The deal had $70 million guaranteed.
|YEAR||AGE||BASE SALARY||SIGNING||CAP HIT||DEAD CAP|
Diggs' dead cap hit being $43 million over the next two years makes him all but untradeable, adding to the mystery around the situation.
Highest-paid NFL wide receivers
While it's possible this is a simple matter of economics, it's unlikely.
Diggs has the fifth-highest contract in the NFL among receivers, and the third-most guaranteed money. He was highly productive last year as well, catching 108 passes for 1,429 yards and 11 touchdowns. He has had 100-plus receptions in all three seasons with Buffalo.
With these contracts sitting where they are, Diggs looks to be well-compensated by the Bills.
Perhaps Diggs is simply unhappy or maybe there's something personal coming away from the team. McDermott's concerns, however, aren't going to assuage speculation as to why Diggs is absent.