The Minnesota Vikings and the young receiver agreed to terms on a new contract, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero and Mike Garafolo reported Tuesday morning, according to sources informed of the decision.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reports the contract is a five-year deal worth $72 million, with an $81 million max salary, and $40 million in guarantees. Diggs received a $15 million signing bonus plus this year’s base is guaranteed ($16.9 million), Rapoport added. The $14.4 million base salary puts Diggs in the top 10 among receivers. If he reaches the max over five years, he’d earn $16.2 million per, which is on par with what Sammy Watkins and Brandin Cooks signed for this offseason.
The bump in pay is solid for the fifth-round receiver who was scheduled to make merely $1.907 million in the final season of his rookie deal. For a player without a 100-catch or 1,000-yard season, Diggs is now making a pretty penny. The Vikings are paying Diggs for his abundant potential. Getting a deal done now pays an ascending player while locking in the young wideout. With the salary cap increasing and prices escalating, if Diggs stays healthy, this could look like a team-friendly deal in a few seasons.
Diggs’ most famous play came in the ‘Minneapolis Miracle’ playoff win over the New Orleans Saints. The wideout, however, is more than simply a one-play wonder.
As a route technician and still just 24-years-old, Diggs can win at every level and has become a downfield maven. In three seasons since being drafted out of Maryland, the 6-foot wideout has compiled 200 receptions for 2,472 yards and 15 TDs. He owns the ability to win at the line of scrimmage and secure the catch in close quarters. Diggs ranked first among receivers last season in Next Gen Stats’ tight-window rating and Pro Football Focus’ contested-catch efficiency.
"Stefon is a hard worker, man, he’s a guy that at first wasn’t labeled as one of the top receivers," Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes said Tuesday on NFL Network’s Good Morning Football. "But now he’s showing his work. He’s showing he can catch the ball. He’s can run with the best, catch with the best, jump with the best, whatever. And he deserves to get paid with the best. I’m happy for him. We fight every day in practice. Go at it every day in practice, me, him, and [Adam] Thielen and the rest of the receivers. But him and Thielen being the leaders of that receiver corps, I fight with them guys the best so we can set an example for the younger guys."
The one question mark with Diggs has been health. He’s yet to play full 16-game slate through three seasons, and a slight build at 191 pounds could lead to nagging injuries. His explosive ability, however, outweighs those concerns.
Diggs recently said he didn’t want to leave Minnesota. His new pact will ensure he won’t have to anytime soon.
"I want to be here. I love being here," Diggs said. "I love being a part of this organization. They took a chance on me early."
With Thielen inking a team-friendly four-year contract last offseason, the Vikings now have one of the best — and most underrated — receiver duos in the NFL locked up for the foreseeable future.
With Diggs’ contract following deals for defensive end Danielle Hunter and linebacker Eric Kendricks this offseason, the next pact to be hammered out linebacker Antony Barr’s. General Manager Rick Spielman has said he hopes to find common ground with Barr soon. At worst, by signing Diggs to a new deal, the Vikings have an easy decision on whom to franchise tag, should it come to that next offseason.
Diggs deal now gives the Vikings a core of talented players all under contract for the next several years. Diggs, Thielen, Hunter, Kendricks, Rhodes, Kirk Cousins, Everson Griffen, Linval Joseph, Riley Reiff, Harrison Smith and Dalvin Cook are all signed at least through the 2020 season.
The Vikings are stacked for the long-haul, friends. Get used to a lot of Purple parties the next several years.