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Diggs to the Patriots? Rapidly Becoming This Decade’s Larry Fitz Wish List

Steve Balestrieri
Steve Balestrieri on Twitter
February 20, 2020 at 7:43 am ET

Diggs to the Patriots? Rapidly Becoming This Decade’s Larry Fitz Wish List(PHOTO: Winslow Townson - USA TODAY Sports)

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“Did you see Stefon Diggs Removed All of His Vikings Pics from his timeline?”
“Diggs to the Patriots Rumors Picking up Steam”
“Diggs Could Be the Piece That Puts NE Back in the SB”

My timeline and yours no doubt have been filled with these “Breaking Headlines” for the past several days. The only thing missing is the requisite picture of what was purported to be Larry Fitzgerald at the airport picking up a rental car. And that isn’t a typo because Diggs is fast becoming the Larry Fitz to this decade’s Patriots fans wish list. Hardly a spring or trade deadline every year went by without a rumor that “we’re hearing that a Fitzgerald trade to NE could actually happen this time around.”

Just for the totally uninitiated in the ways of the NFL, if the Patriots are bringing in a guy, they’re not asking him to drive himself to Foxboro, picking up a rental at Dollar a Day. But I digress here…we’re into the spring where every rumor, even the made-up ones (See Brady, Thomas Edward) are steeped in just enough of a sliver of truth, to make the wish that it is true, become a better possibility.

It starts with the obvious. Diggs WOULD be a tremendous addition to the Patriots offense. Nobody is doubting that possibility. His talent is out there for all to see. Even with a down year in 2019 where his targets were way down, he’s caught 165 passes in the past two seasons, for 2151 yards and 15 touchdowns.

But let’s get to the practical side of things. First, what would be the Vikings’ motivation to trade a player with his production? A guy who is already locked up at a reasonable (for a very productive WR) amount of money, a guy who is only 26 and just entering his prime? According to Pro Football Talk:

Diggs is due to make $10.9 million in salary this year, with a cap number of $14.5 million. Trading him would clear only $5.5 million in net cap space, since a trade would result in a $9 million cap charge.

The NFL Network’s Tom Pelissaro reported on Wednesday that the Vikings have no intention of trading Diggs at this time. With a roster they feel can challenge for the NFC, they may opt to stand pat in 2020.

Now from the Patriots side of things, with Diggs scheduled to make nearly $48 million in the next few years, would Bill Belichick/Nick Caserio commit to that kind of contract, for a wide receiver who has never played in their offense? That is the $64,000 question.

There have been plenty of players, really good ones who have tried to assimilate in the New England offense and failed. We don’t really need to go down the list again for the nth time again, do we?  Just like every other spring?

The Patriots used a 1st round draft pick on a wide receiver last year in N’Keal Harry, whose rookie season was derailed because of an injury. It is far too early to write off his career because of a slow start to Year 1. So, we’re expecting much bigger things there. But Diggs would most certainly cost them their 1st round pick, plus more. Would the team invest another 1st round pick on a WR with so many other needs out there?

And just because Diggs removed all references to the Vikings off of his Instagram account, all of Patriots Nation is gaga that the Pats’ brain trust is going to swoop in and steal away Diggs for a song. Not to break the bad news to anyone but look at other team’s social media pages, there are plenty of other teams’ fanbases who are convinced that their brain trust is making a move for the talented but diva-ish wide receiver.

Just for the record, we’d all love to see Diggs in a Patriots uniform. Teamed up with Julian Edelman, Harry, James White, et al. in the passing game, he’d be a tremendous pickup. But I can’t see Minnesota letting him go for one or the Patriots making the necessary moves to secure him…especially with the question of “Who’s going to throw him the ball?” still hanging over their heads.

But hey, “There was an Instagram picture of Diggs eating dinner and he had baked beans on the table. If those are B&M, then he’s coming to New England…done deal. We got Pauly in the car on Line 3 that says he saw Diggs at the Providence airport this morning.”

“Hey Mikey, Belichick needs to Brady some freakin’ weaponz! Sanuuu is such a looosah.”

I love the spring…

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About Steve Balestrieri

A former US Army Special Forces NCO and Officer, Steve has been following the Patriots since their days at Fenway Park. Steve has worked in the film industry and wrote as an Military Editor at SpecialOperations.com, 1945.com as a reporter for the Millbury Daily Voice, Millbury-Sutton Chronicle, and the Grafton News. He's also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)


Tags: Bill Belichick Julian Edelman Larry Fitzgerald N'Keal Harry New England Patriots Patriots Patriots wide receivers Stefon Diggs Tom Brady Trade rumors

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