Bills can't be a Super Bowl contender with a disengaged Stefon Diggs

Stefon Diggs and the Buffalo Bills appear to be having a bit of a quarrel.

Diggs missed a mandatory minicamp practice last week, prompting head coach Sean McDermott to say he was concerned about his star wide receiver. Diggs showed up to practice the next day before the Bills broke for the summer.

This is a situation to monitor not just because of the star power involved, but also because the Bills really need a version of Stefon Diggs that is motivated and wanting to be a part of this team. They’ve put themselves in a spot where his theoretical absence would be a massive blow to the franchise.

The notion that not having Diggs at full capacity would be a huge blow for the Bills is not exactly a grand observation. Since Diggs joined the team in 2020, he ranks fourth in the league in receiving yards (4,189), is tied for first in catches with Davante Adams (338) and ranks sixth in receiving touchdowns (29). Advanced stats aren’t really needed to detail Diggs’ importance to the Bills and their offensive success. He has been one of the elite receivers in the NFL since coming to Buffalo.

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - OCTOBER 02: Quarterback Josh Allen #17 of the Buffalo Bills and wide receiver Stefon Diggs #14 of the Buffalo Bills look on together before playing against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on October 02, 2022 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
The Josh Allen-Stefon Diggs partnership has kept the Bills as AFC championship contenders. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

The biggest problem that Buffalo faces with its current roster construction is the Bills don’t have great offensive depth beyond Diggs, who has the top wide receiver spot locked down on this team. Gabriel Davis was projected to become a force at wideout after scoring four touchdowns in a playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs, but he didn’t show enough consistency to establish himself as a top-tier secondary wide receiver throughout the season. He was a source of big plays, but sometimes an offense needs someone who can consistently move the chains outside of their primary target. He wasn’t that guy.

Beyond Davis, the Bills had tight end Dawson Knox and auxiliary receiver Isaiah McKenzie, who finished third and fourth on the team in receiving yards. Outside of Diggs, it’s not like the Bills had a great receiving group, which prompted them to add Utah tight end Dalton Kincaid in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft. That addition will give them some scheme flexibility and create issues for defenses tasked with facing two-tight end formations, but it doesn’t fix their actual problem regarding their wide receiver depth. And it's a problem that may not be able to be fixed at this point in the offseason.

They have smaller dice rolls already on the roster. They signed Trent Sherfield and Deonte Harty at wide receiver before drafting Justin Shorter in the fifth round. Khalil Shakir, who was drafted in the fifth round last year, had some promising moments as a rookie and will push for significant playing time. Still, none of those guys currently project to be a player who can really round out a receivers room. The options outside of the building are dwindling with DeAndre Hopkins being a notable free agent and he’s probably the only one who can fill the hole that they need.

Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs are a good enough duo that can carry an efficient, high-volume passing game into the postseason. The problem arises with the players beyond that and the lack of depth that gets them into trouble at times despite being one of the elite teams in the league.

The Bills and Diggs need to squash this and makeup because they’re going to need each other if they want to achieve their shared vision of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy after the season.