Stefon Diggs’ 2018 salary already increased by about $1 million, courtesy of the NFL’s proven performance escalator program awarding late-round picks who play at least 35 percent of their team’s snaps in two of three NFL seasons.
So Diggs will make roughly $1.9 million next season, which should be his last as a bargain for an NFL team. If the Vikings enter negotiations this summer with Adisa Bakari, who represents Diggs as well as the Steelers’ Le’Veon Bell, they’ll have to eventually make him one of the highest-paid players on the team.
“God is good,” Diggs wrote on his verified Twitter account after Jarvis Landry reportedly agreed to a five-year, $75 million extension with the Browns. “Congrats bro bro.”
Landry’s mega deal in Cleveland is just the latest example of the receiver’s power in today’s NFL. Sammy Watkins can earn nearly $34 million in two years during his new deal in Kansas City. Allen Robinson, coming off a torn ACL, got $18 million fully guaranteed (up to $42 million in three years) from Chicago.
A statistical comparison for Diggs is Green Bay’s Davante Adams, who agreed to a four-year, $58 million deal in December that essentially pays him $33 million in three years. While Adams has the edge in touchdowns (6.5 per year to Diggs’ 5), Diggs has more yards (824 per season to Adams’ 703) and is the better deep threat. Both have been close, but neither have a 1,000-yard season.
Rick Spielman, Rob Brzezinski and the Vikings front office faced a similar situation last year with three major extensions executed for Everson Griffen, Xavier Rhodes and Linval Joseph. The deals were signed just days apart on July 26, July 30 and Aug 5. If history is any indicator, than the dominoes could fall quickly with this summer’s group of Diggs, linebackers Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks and defensive end Danielle Hunter entering their contract years.
The Vikings subsequently treaded lightly after big splashes for Kirk Cousins and Sheldon Richardson in free agency. About $17.8 million remains in cap space following the recent wave of depth moves and specialist signings. And Diggs’ cap number (currently $1.96 million) may stand to increase the most among his teammates set to hit free agency next year.