The Vikings and receiver Stefon Diggs have officially come to terms on a new contract, according to multiple reports. Per both NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the deal is for five years, $72 million with $40 million in guaranteed money. It includes a max salary of $81 million, which would put his deal right in line with new deal Brandin Cooks signed earlier this month.
Diggs is now among the highest-paid players at his position. On his base contract, his $14.4 million a year salary places him ninth in the league, just a tick behind Green Bay’s Davante Adams.
Despite three solid years of production, the deal is still based on Diggs’ potential above just about everything else. He has yet to crack 1,000 yards or 100 catches in a season, and he has missed at least two games every year of his career. Yet, he has established himself as a premier route runner and exceptional play-maker in traffic, despite his relatively small stature. He was also one of the top red zone receivers in the league last year. Diggs’ reputation early on may have been that of a downfield burner, but seven of his eight touchdowns in 2017 came inside of 20 yards.
While Diggs was the number two receiver last year, his market value appeared to be that of a number one. With Cooks and Sammy Watkins earning $16 million-plus, it was inevitable that Diggs was going to see upper echelon receiver money. So the Vikings may be paying Diggs top-10 receiver money for second receiver numbers. But keep in mind, Adam Thielen is under contract for three more years for far less than his true value. His deal will result in an average cap hit of only $5.87 million over that time. So in essence, the Vikings are paying a total of $20.3 million for three years of 2017’s best receiving duo. When viewing the two as a unit, Diggs’ contract is very reasonable. It is especially so when accounting for the price tag of good-to-great pass catchers in today’s NFL.
When it comes down to it, the 2018 offseason has been about locking up the near future. The Vikings now have a number of key pieces in place through at least 2020. Danielle Hunter, Eric Kendricks and now Diggs have their extensions and Kirk Cousins signed on for three years. On top of that, Trae Waynes had his 2019 option picked up. That means Anthony Barr remains the lone figure on the once vast list of 2019 free agents. Diggs’ deal is a little on the lower end of expectations, as was Hunter’s. So time will tell if that helps in Barr’s negotiations. For the time being, he appears to be the odd man out.
Regardless, the Diggs extension guarantees one thing for certain. Assuming health, Cousins will have the full array of weapons he expected when he signed for the long haul.