Worth. Every. Single. Penny.
The Buffalo Bills won 13 games in the 2020 NFL regular season en route to the franchise’s first trip to the AFC Championship Game in a generation. Along the way, some of general manager Brandon Beane’s acquisitions appeared shrewd, while others fell flat.
We’ve run an offseason list ranking the best and worst salary cap values for many years here at Buffalo Rumblings—I even think I wrote the series once before—and lists like these often follow a similar pattern. We ignore the highly paid guys on the squad while giving a spotlight to those who far outperformed their contract.
What happens, though, when the highest-paid player on the team proves that he’s not only worth every penny of that contract…but that he might actually have been underpaid given his level of production relative to others at his position? That’s exactly what happened to the Bills this year, as the team’s prized offseason acquisition proved to be the catalyst that turned this roster from “Playoff Caliber” to “Championship Caliber.”
In the first installment of our 2020 Buffalo Bills best salary cap values, we’re coming in hot.
WR Stefon Diggs
2020 Salary-Cap Figure: $14.8 million (6.7 percent of the overall cap)
2020 Stats: 166 targets, 127 receptions, 1,535 receiving yards, 8 receiving touchdowns
In his first season with the Bills, Diggs rewrote the franchise record book for receiving. He set franchise records in targets, catches, and receiving yards, and he led the NFL in all three of those categories. He was named First-Team All-Pro, becoming the first wide receiver in Bills history to be so named. After being branded a malcontent and a diva during his time with the Minnesota Vikings, Diggs immediately took to Buffalo and quarterback Josh Allen, who found in Diggs the kind of trusted weapon that every young quarterback needs.
Among wideouts with 100 receptions, Diggs was second in catch percentage, as well, hauling in 76.5 percent of the passes thrown his way. Only Davante Adams of the Green Bay Packers had a better catch percentage with 100 or more receptions (77.2 percent). While Diggs may have been the highest-paid player on the Bills, he was the eighth-highest-paid player at his position in the NFL according to salary-cap figures.
Sometimes a player is the highest-paid guy on the roster. Sometimes a player is the most productive offensive player at his position on the team. Sometimes a player is among the most productive players at his position in the entire NFL. And yes, sometimes a player is all of those things. Stefon Diggs is invaluable to this Bills team and to Josh Allen in particular. Sure, he was richly compensated; however, to argue that he wasn’t among the best values on the team would be pedantic. Take Diggs off this roster and Buffalo is not nearly the offensive juggernaut they became at points this past season. Take Diggs off this roster and John Brown’s early season injury leaves a young receiving group headed by Cole Beasley.
Stefon Diggs is the highest-paid player on the Bills’ roster. He’s worth every single penny. That alone merits a spot in our top-ten best salary-cap values for the 2020 season.