How Stefon Diggs’ arrival adds ‘ton of value,’ ‘playmaker’ to Texans’ already loaded offense headlined by C.J. Stroud

Texans acquired four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver to upgrade already explosive passing game

Stefon Diggs in the Texans' facility after the trade was announced (

HOUSTON – C.J. Stroud was enjoying a deep sleep, slumbering in Los Angeles when the Texans manufactured one of the most significant transactions in franchise history.

As the Pro Bowl quarterback slept in on the West Coast, Texans general manager Nick Caserio and Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane conducted an important piece of business. Caserio engineered a major trade to acquire four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Stefon Diggs along with a 2024 sixth-round selection and a 2025 fifth-round pick in exchange for a 2025 second-round draft pick.

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As the move became public, Stroud had kept his phone in Do Not Disturb mode. Once he was up, Stroud received a text message from his friend, Chase B.

“I was actually asleep,” Stroud said Monday as the Texans launched the voluntary portion of their offseason training program at NRG Stadium. “I didn’t really know. I woke up and my boy, Chase B, texted me and he’s like, ‘How are you feelin, bro?’ And I’m thinking he’s like asking me and I’m like, ‘I’m good, fam. How are you?’”

Once Stroud had awoken, brushed his teeth and washed his face, he checked his Instagram, that’s when he realized what happened and the magnitude of the moment. Diggs, the star wide receiver he got to know at the Pro Bowl all-star game along with Diggs’ nephew, the son of Dallas Cowboys cornerback Trevon Diggs, was now his teammate and providing an upgrade to an already explosive offense headlined by Stroud, the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year last season.

“I saw the news, I saw it on Instagram and I’m like, ‘Oh, shoot, that’s what they’re talking about,’” Stroud said. “I really just thought he was checking up on me. It was cool. It was really fun to see that.”

Now, Stroud is already experiencing what an offense bolstered by Diggs can look like. Stroud already organized throwing sessions on the UCLA campus with Diggs and wide receivers Tank Dell and John Metchie III.

Adding Diggs, who has 810 career receptions for 9,995 yards and 67 touchdowns has transformed the defending AFC South champion Texans, behind the strength of a productive offseason from general manager Nick Caserio and coach DeMeco Ryans, into a trendy Super Bowl contender.

“I was very excited,” Stroud said of Diggs, who wasn’t at NRG Stadium on Monday and posted on social media that he’s training in South Florida. “I met him at the Pro Bowl, got to meet each other, got to meet his kids and to see what type of person he was. Just been able to grow our relationship from there. It’s really cool just to be able to go from not only that scene to now, him being a teammate of mine. Just really excited to get to work with him.”

When the Texans acquired Diggs, they made a huge adjustment to his contract. They eliminated the final three years of his original four-year, $96 million extension, per a league source. The Texans have now shifted $3.515 million guaranteed that Diggs was due in 2025 to 2024 and made this a one-year guaranteed $22.5 million contract that includes a $250,000 workout bonus and a $15,000 per game active roster bonus, up to $255,000.

Diggs receives a $20.895 million signing bonus, His $1.21 million base salary is fully guaranteed for skill, injury and salary cap. And 2025, 2026, 2027 and 2028 are voidable years with $30 million base salaries annually for salary-cap accounting purposes. His salary-cap figure for 2024 is just $5.867 million due to this renegotiated contract.

The Texans, in an all-in mode after this blockbuster trade and a spending spree that includes a two-year, $51 million deal for Pro Bowl defensive end Danielle Hunter, have made this a one-year arrangement with Diggs, for now. Nothing precludes them from doing a new deal with Diggs, if things go smoothly, or moving on after one year should he leave in free agency. They have this year to build a relationship.

“He adds a ton of value to that room,” Stroud said. “There’s a lot of wisdom that he carries that I think he’ll spread to the other guys. He’s been reaching out to really everybody and I think that whole room in general is going to be great. I think we’re all going to feed off of each other. It’s going to be very fun and very exciting just to work with everybody in that room and I’m very excited for it.”

Diggs, 30, caught 107 passes for 1,183 yards and eight touchdowns last season for the Bills.

Now, Diggs will be catching passes from Stroud, last year’s NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, and working in tandem with Nico Collins and Tank Dell.

Diggs was in Houston earlier this offseason and playing with Stroud in Travis Scott’s charity softball game at Minute Maid Park. Now, he’ll be catching passes from Stroud at NRG Stadium this fall.

The Texans wanted to become even more explosive and productive on offense. Now, they’ve set the stage for that scenario.

“Diggs, adding him, he’s been a great player in this league for a long time,” Texans coach DeMeco Ryans said. “Well-respected. He’s been a great teammate, he’s been a leader, a captain. When you look at him and when you watch the tape, no one doubts the playmaker that he is. He changes games for the teams he’s been a part of, and we’re anticipating the same thing for us.”

“I don’t think it hurts to add a lot of playmakers to your team. So, we’re trying to add as many playmakers as we can. Offensively, defensively, we’re trying to build the best team for 2024, and that’s what myself and Nick, that’s what our job is – to add the right pieces, acquire the right players, to have us go out and be our best in 2024.”

In his first season with the Bills after being traded from the Minnesota Vikings, Diggs caught 127 passes for 1,535 yards from star quarterback Josh Allen. Diggs had 5,372 yards and 37 touchdowns during his time in Buffalo.

Diggs’ happiness in Buffalo had declined with relationships with coach Sean McDermott and quarterback Josh Allen starting to splinter, according to several league sources.

Diggs’ production last season dipped significantly following the first half of the season. Diggs averaged 41 receiving yards and had zero touchdowns in the final seven games of the season. After the first six games, he had no 100-yard games and caught three touchdowns.

“Yeah, again, when we watch the tape on Stefon and the playmaker that he is, we always go back to the tape and we look at a player in totality,” Ryans said. “We don’t look at this amount of weeks, or those weeks, we look at the entire season. We look at the guy’s entire career, what he’s done, how he’s been productive. The guy has been an All Pro player, he’s been a Pro Bowl player, over 1,000 yards for multiple seasons. So, we’re excited about adding Diggs to our team.”

When Stroud breaks the huddle this season, he’ll be joined by Diggs, Collins and Dell, tight end Dalton Schultz, who re-signed with the Texans on a three-year, $36 million contract, and former Pro Bowl running back Joe Mixon, who was acquired in a trade from the Cincinnati Bengals and signed to a three-year, $27 million extension. The Texans’ offensive line is led by Pro Bowl left tackle Laremy Tunsil, the highest paid offensive lineman in the game with a $25 million annual average. Plus, offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik and quarterbacks coach Jerrod Johnson are back to collaborate with Stroud after interviewing for multiple jobs.

“I’m very excited, I think we have a lot of potential,” Stroud said. “A ton of guys who have played a lot of meaningful ball. A lot of guys who can do different things with the ball, which is amazing. With all of those expectations, all the outside noise, right now is the time to focus. Right now, is the time to build the foundation and build the chemistry. Of course, Bobby always talks about, we’re thinking about doing the work for the end in mind.

“So right now, it’s just building that foundation, getting with the guys, talking about certain routes. I’m the leader of the whole offense and really the team, so even the things that DeMeco has been saying just to build that foundation and fundamentals and doing the right things, the little things the right way.”

Diggs got the No. 1 jersey after paying $100,000 to safety and team captain Jimmie Ward, per a league source, as Ward switched to No. 20, his number with the San Francisco 49ers.

The Texans’ roster is loaded, perhaps built to challenge for the AFC championship with other top teams, including the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens and Bills.

“You want high expectations,” Texans foundation vice president Hannah McNair said during the NFL owners meetings. “You don’t want to go into something going, ‘I hope we just make the playoffs. I hope we get a winning season.’ You always want the expectations to be high. I think the fact that we’re in those conversations is a testament to the decisions that have been made over the last couple of years.”

From social media reaction to conversations amongst players, the trade has been universally welcomed. The Texans’ offense is absolutely loaded.

“Oh man, it’s going to be pretty cool,” Ward told KPRC 2 during a book signing for his children’s nutritional book. “He’s a great talent, He came into this league and did what he’s supposed to do, and I feel like DeMeco and Nick did a great job in going to get him and making that trade. And I feel like he’s going to make our team better.”

And Ward and Diggs completed a successful negotiation together. Diggs acquired his old University of Maryland No. 1 jersey from Ward, who switched back to his old No. 20 jersey from his time with the San Francisco 49ers, for $100,000, according to a league source.

“Yeah, man, we worked some things out,” Ward said. “I feel like he’s happy and 20 was available, so I’m happy. It’s a number that I feel like I can make plays in, but I feel like I can make plays in anything. I think Deion (Sanders) said it best: ‘Look good, feel good, play good. Deion said it and I think a lot of people think he was deep.”

Aaron Wilson is a Texans and NFL reporter for KPRC 2 and

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