Texans Shorten Diggs’ Contract

Adding to the intrigue surrounding the Texans trade for wide receiver Stefon Diggs, the Texans have modified the Diggs’ contract, eliminating the final three years and giving Diggs a raise for the season.

Diggs’ salary for the 2024 season will now be $22.52 million which will be fifth in the NFL. The salary will trail Michael Pittman ($28M), Calvin Ridley ($25M), Keenan Allen ($23.1M), and Mike Evans ($23M). Three of the four players all signed contracts this year which is the reason for the high salary with Allen being the lone player on an existing contract. Diggs will now be eligible for free agency in 2025.

It is an interesting move by the Texans. Diggs’ 2025 salary was not guaranteed and the raise he receives for 2024 represents an injury guarantee that he had in his contract for 2025. So this is a legit raise for Diggs. The move clearly indicated that the Texans did not view this new relationship as something that they see for the long term. While I am sure that the front office will give the typical lip service that “our goal is for the player to be here for the long term” the fact that they voided out the rest of the contract is usually what you do when you acquire a player and are trying to get the best possible year from him before moving on. With this happening so quickly it would seem that this was all discussed during trade talks in the last few days. It may also shed some light as to discussions about contract modifications that may have been going on Buffalo which also helped lead them to move on.

Do these contract tricks ever work to get a better performance from a player? Probably not but the Texans are hoping for the best and this probably sends a better message about their front office to other players in the league than having Diggs for one year and cutting him in 2025. The Texans cap situation in 25 with Diggs under contract was 26th worst in the NFL which probably made Diggs’ future cloudy at best and this should eliminate any distractions about Diggs’ future and contract. It is possible that the Texans used void years as part of the restructure to add a little extra cap room for this year. By voiding out Diggs’ contract the Texans will not be eligible for a compensatory pick for Diggs when he leaves in free agency so this has nothing to do with trying to recover draft capital.

Diggs’ manipulation of the Bills and Texans with this contract make this deal one of the all time great contracts for a player. The original contract extension signed in 2022 was largely done to help with the Bills salary cap and keep Diggs happy by making his salary come in line with recent contract extensions. The Bills paid Diggs an additional $20.9 million for the 2022 and 2023 seasons and now Diggs will earn $22.52 million. That works out to a one year extension worth $43.14 million, all of which was guaranteed.

$43.14 million is a crazy number for a contract. The current high for a receiver is $30 million a year which is a funny money contract. The real number is about $27 million a year. A one year new money $43.14 cash payment trails only Davante Adams who earned $43.36 million in his first year with the Raiders. As a frame of reference the franchise tag this year was $21.8 million, so Diggs basically doubled the tag with the way things went down. When we talk about business “Hall of Fame” Diggs has probably skyrocketed to the top with this one.