Bills’ GM on Diggs: ‘It’s my job, and my personnel staff’s job to add weapons’

Last season, the Buffalo Bills did what many thought they could do, and that is make it to the postseason. Buffalo finished 10-6 and made the playoffs in 2019. Unfortunately, the Bills would fall to the Texans 22-19 in OT in the wild-card round of the playoffs. 

In 2019, the Bills had a very good defense, which finished third in total defense and second in points allowed. However, at times on offense, it was a struggle for Buffalo. The Bills finished 24th in total offense and were 23rd in points scored, so with those numbers; Buffalo needed help on offense, which they may have found in WR Stefon Diggs.

Buffalo sent a first-round pick, fifth-round pick, and sixth-round pick in the 2020 draft and a fourth-round pick in the 2021 draft for Diggs and a seventh-round pick in this year’s draft.

Diggs, 26, had 63 catches for 1130 yards and six touchdowns last season in Minnesota.

Today, Bills GM Brandon Beane, via a conference call, discussed the acquisition of Diggs. 

Q: I know there’s been some reporting and sourcing on how exactly the Stefon Diggs trade came about. Can you just kind of give us in your own way a timeline of how things unfolded for you?

Beane: “Yeah, so it was that Monday, the negotiating period started around noon, so you know late afternoon, I don’t know exactly the time. Four or 4:30, somewhere in there. We reached out and just kind of, as we do, you know all the time we hear rumors on, some of the same rumors we heard at the trade deadline last season on guys. I think it was pretty open that we were, we were snooping around midseason to make a trade for another receiver, and we just couldn’t find a deal that worked for us. And you know, Stefon was one that we had looked into at that point, along with some other guys. And, you know, Minnesota was not willing to part with him at that point, but we checked back in, and it didn’t seem like a definitive 100% no. They just said, ‘Listen we’re not shopping him. We just agreed to a contract a little over a year ago.’ So talked to them, and they just said, ‘Listen, we’ll listen, but it’s got to be something, because you know we got to replace this guy, and he’s our number one receiver.’ And so did that. Then you know we were talking to other receivers agents, working through seeing what was available, what our options were. And then at the end of the night, I told Minnesota, ‘Hey, we’ll circle back.’ And they, they were starting to get a little antsy because they were getting pressure, you know, there were some other teams involved. And so, we worked on it probably around 9:45 or so, and I think 20 to 30 minutes later, we got it knocked out.”

Q: Why was this a move that you felt like your team needed to make at this particular time.

Beane: “Yeah, I mean, I said it at the end of season press conference. I blamed myself as much as anybody. It’s my job and my personnel staff’s job to add weapons to help run Brian Daboll and his staff, help our quarterback, help Sean. And so one of the things that I thought we still needed, hence I was referring to us snooping around at the trade deadline was finding somebody opposite John Brown to pair with Cole Beasley. And, again, the draft was is stacked with receivers as well. We’ve talked about that before. But I think it became ever-present with what’s going on around us, that we don’t know what kind of offseason we’ll have. And I just felt like it was going to be really hard, unless I trade it up really high to find a guy that I know could walk in, day one. Let’s just say it’s August before we get back to things. You know, I just felt a proven commodity was worth this. The trade value of this move probably moved us up three to four slots from 22, might of got us to 18 or 19, not as high as I thought we had to get to get one of those premier guys that I knew would walk in the door, even August 1, and be ready to roll.”

Q: Do you consider Stefon Diggs almost like your first-round draft pick? And how are you guys doing the draft preparation given everything going on in the world?

Beane: “It is one of those things where I view it that’s our first-round pick. The way I’m viewing it with the draft capital that we moved to acquire him is we moved up, let’s just say four spots. We traded up there, and we got him. And we know the player. It’s just a more proven thing right now. And again, what we’re dealing with. What did weigh into it is, I know this guy knows ball and we’ll be able to understand the verbiage of our system quicker than, a lot of this stuff in college is all signaled in. A lot of these guys aren’t in huddles, so the biggest transition for these receivers beyond the routes and the physical stuff is just hearing these long play calls in the huddle and processing in their head from as little as ‘Do I go left? Do I go right? Am I on the ball? Am I off the ball?’ Now I got to start reading what coverage they’re in to know what route they are in. You know all those things, the mental part is so hard, and that’s why I think so many receivers, we talk about all the time probably one of the higher bust rates across the league. I think it’s more mental than physical.”

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