In the wake of a bitter season-ending loss, Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs let his reactions and social media do his talking.
Diggs was clearly upset in the aftermath of the Bills’ 27-10 Divisional Round loss to the Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo general manager Brandon Beane has no qualms with the fire he saw from Diggs.
“I’d rather have guys I got to cool off and just, you know, he wants to win and I can live with that versus, I’ve been around people that I question, are they just here for the Monday paycheck,” Beane said Tuesday at his season-ending news conference. “Stefon Diggs has been paid very handsomely, OK? He could say, ‘Man I’m good, I’m set. I can take my private jet, so I can do whatever I want.’ He wants to win and so he wears his emotions on his sleeve, but that’s what makes him really, really good. That’s who Steph was coming out.
“I’m an emotional guy too and if I was losing out there, sometimes I probably think I’d be worse than Steph so does that answer it?”
During the waning moments of the Bills’ loss Sunday, Diggs was visibly upset on the sideline. He could be seen with his arms outstretched and talking to – or at – quarterback Josh Allen, who was on the bench and did not appear to look up.
Diggs did not speak to the media following the game or during Monday’s customary locker-room cleanout availability. He broke his silence on social media Monday with a string of tweets.
“Want me to be okay with losing? Nah,” Diggs began. “Want me to be okay with our level of play when it’s not up to the standard? Nah.
“It’s easy to criticize my reaction more than the result.”
Diggs had just four catches Sunday on a game-high 10 targets for 35 yards. Those numbers followed his third straight Pro Bowl campaign in Buffalo, in which he had 108 receptions for 1,429 yards and 11 touchdowns.
While Diggs hasn’t spoken to reporters yet, Beane backed him Tuesday, just as head coach Sean McDermott did on Monday.
“Stef’s a highly competitive individual, as we all know, and that’s part of the reason why we all love him,” McDermott said, via ESPN. “And he’s frustrated, like we all are. He was in today, and he and I spoke, and I’ll leave it at that.”
Though Beane seems to have no issue with Diggs, the remainder of Buffalo’s wide receiver corps could certainly use a boost.
Diggs’ 108 catches were more than double anyone else on the team, with Gabe Davis‘ 48 grabs tying tight end Dawson Knox for second on the squad. Beane defended Davis, whose production was largely inconsistent and plagued by drops, but was open to adding more to the WR room in the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft.
Since Beane took over as Bills GM in 2017, he’s drafted a receiver in five of six drafts. He selected Zay Jones in the second round in 2017, but Jones is in Jacksonville now and Beane hasn’t picked a wideout higher than Davis(2020 fourth round) since then. Slotted at 27th overall, the Bills could take a wide receiver in the first round for the initial time in the Beane regime.
“I chose Steph Diggs in the first round, right? Right?” Beane joked in reference to Buffalo acquiring Diggs from the Minnesota Viking in exchange for a first-round pick that became some fellow named Justin Jefferson.
In all seriousness, Beane said he would consider a wideout in the opening round pending on how things plays out as it’s clear it’s a position of need for the reigning AFC East champions.
“I wouldn’t hesitate,” Beane said. “It’s not a position that I say, ‘Hey you don’t take it in the first round’ or anything like that. It’s if he’s a really good football player and he can fit in our offense, what we require for a receiver, we’d take him in a minute. If Ja’Marr Chase , a guy like that fell to us at 27 this year, I’d turn the card in a minute.”
Elsewhere in his end-of-the-season presser, Beane said the team will need to work to get under the salary cap, stating there would not be another signing such as the Von Miller deal of last offseason when Miller and the Bills agreed to a lofty six-year, $120 million contract.
While the cap will be a hindering factor, Beane said he would like to have impending free agents Jordan Poyer and Tremaine Edmunds back. In the case of Poyer, a Pro Bowl safety, Beane said there would be more clarity when they had the league salary cap number. As for Edmunds, Beane added “we’ll do our best” in terms of re-signing him.
Beane and the Bills had an earlier end to their 2022 season than they would’ve liked, but a lively offseason awaits.