Bills GM admits team 'probably not' better after Stefon Diggs trade, hasn't spoken with Josh Allen

The Buffalo Bills did something very unusual for a contending team Wednesday. They traded their No. 1 wide receiver.

Stefon Diggs is headed to the Houston Texans in exchange for some draft pick compensation, ending a four-year tenure in Buffalo that saw the wideout post 5,372 receiving yards, 37 touchdowns and four Pro Bowl nods.

That naturally left Bills general manager Brandon Beane with some questions to answer Wednesday. His answers painted a picture of a team going through a short-term sacrifice fully aware it still has some work to do:

"These moves are never easy, very hard. Not made overnight. Any time you make a move like this — as I said, very difficult — you're doing it, you're trying to win. Sometimes people might not see that. This is by no means the Bills giving up or trying to take a step back or anything like that. Everything we do, we're trying to win. We're going to continue to do that."

"Are we better today? Probably not. It's a work in progress, and we're going to continue to work on that.

Diggs was set to begin his four-year, $70 million extension, but the Bills were low on cap space for the future. The team will take on $31 million in dead money for this upcoming season, but will save more than $27 million for the 2025 season.

Of course, there had also been signals of Diggs' discontent in Buffalo, including the previous day when the veteran pointedly responded, "You sure?" to Robert Griffin III when the former quarterback claimed Diggs was essential to the success of quarterback Josh Allen.

We might be about to get a pretty decent test of that claim. The Bills' wide receiver depth chart is now topped by the likes of Khalil Shakir, Curtis Samuel and Mack Hollins, none of whom posted more than 700 receiving yards last season. Tight ends Dalton Kincaid and Dawson Knox are also still in the mix.

Beane expressed confidence in the group for now, but didn't pretend like he wasn't going to be looking for receiving help:

"The years that Stef's been here, he's clearly been our 1. I think we can all agree to that. I think it's more of a volume, a variety of guys. I'm not standing up here today saying, 'Look, I've got another 1 to walk in the door.' We know we're still working through the cap.

"From an expectation standpoint, I wouldn't anticipate walking in here in the next week and say 'Look what we've got.' I think we do have a lot of confidence in our offense, in the other players, whether it's our receivers, the two tight ends, the backs. And listen, we don't play games until September, I hope you know I'm going to turn over every stone."

There are still a number of veteran wide receivers available on the free market, headlined by Hunter Renfrow, Odell Beckham Jr. and Michael Thomas. The Bills also have the No. 28 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft and could very well move up in a strong class for wide receivers.

ORCHARD PARK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 21: Stefon Diggs #14 of the Buffalo Bills reacts during the AFC Divisional Playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Highmark Stadium on January 21, 2024 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
Stefon Diggs is a Houston Texan, and the Buffalo Bills have another move or two to make. (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)

Beane also said he didn't alert Allen ahead of the move, but at least warned him something was coming:

"I have not talked to [Allen] since the move. He's on the West Coast, so probably woke up to — whenever that move went down, he might have been asleep. I'll circle back with him. Josh and I have a pretty regular conversation on things. I think it's important for me to make sure if I think something could happen, to make sure he's not blindsided. Without going into the discussion with Josh the last time we spoke, I did alert him there had been some inquiries and it wasn't 100% off the table."

For now, Vegas isn't too confident the Bills will be able to replace Diggs in the short term. The team's Super Bowl odds moved from +1200 to +1400 on Wednesday, a large swing when it comes to just one wide receiver.