Vikings

How Does Stefon Diggs’ Contract Stack Up?

Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

With reports that Stefon Diggs has signed a five-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings worth $14.4 million per year, it’s important to look at what the deal looks like in the context of the current cap environment and how it compares to other wide receivers in the market.

We’ve taken all the wide receiver contracts active in the NFL at the moment and adjusted them for the cap environment they were signed in, in order to get a true comparison of Diggs’ peers on the market. The best way to do that is to look at how much the average salary consumes as a percentage of the salary cap in the year that it was signed. The top receiver contracts are below:

Player Average % of Cap at Signing
A.J. Green $15,000,000 10.5%
Antonio Brown $17,000,000 10.2%
Julio Jones $14,251,209 9.9%
Demaryius Thomas $14,000,000 9.8%
DeAndre Hopkins $16,200,000 9.7%
Mike Evans $16,500,000 9.3%
Brandin Cooks $16,200,000 9.1%
T.Y. Hilton $13,000,000 9.1%
Sammy Watkins $16,000,000 9.0%
Davante Adams $14,500,000 8.7%
Jarvis Landry $15,100,000 8.5%
Stefon Diggs $14,400,000 8.1%
Allen Robinson $14,000,000 7.9%
Alshon Jeffery $13,000,000 7.8%
Doug Baldwin $11,500,000 7.4%
Keenan Allen $11,250,000 7.2%
Emmanuel Sanders $11,000,000 7.1%
Randall Cobb $10,000,000 7.0%
DeSean Jackson $11,166,667 6.7%
Larry Fitzgerald $11,000,000 6.6%
Pierre Garcon $9,500,000 5.7%
Donte Moncrief $9,600,000 5.4%
Marvin Jones $8,000,000 5.2%
Marqise Lee $8,500,000 4.8%
Kenny Stills $8,000,000 4.8%

At 8.1 percent of the salary cap, Diggs ranks 12th among receivers in cap liability, and he has the capability of out-earning his contract immediately. His deals are most comparable to new deals signed by Alshon Jeffery, Allen Robinson and Jarvis Landry, and many Vikings fans are likely happy with that given their optimism surrounding the young receiver.

If one compares the cap liability to expected fantasy output, as determined by a consensus of fantasy experts, then one can get a good sense of whether or not the Vikings may have over or undervalued Diggs. It’s even possible to construct a model where cap liability predicts the fantasy consensus output and compare the results among the top receivers.

Player % of Cap at Signing Fantasy Projections Modeled Projection Dif%
A.J. Green 10.5% 1182.2 1228.2 -3.9%
Antonio Brown 10.2% 1472.9 1202.9 18.3%
Julio Jones 9.9% 1452.2 1182.5 18.6%
Demaryius Thomas 9.8% 1018.8 1167.1 -14.6%
DeAndre Hopkins 9.7% 1303.8 1160.9 11.0%
Mike Evans 9.3% 1130.7 1126.8 0.3%
Brandin Cooks 9.1% 884.1 1112.0 -25.8%
T.Y. Hilton 9.1% 1126.7 1106.0 1.8%
Sammy Watkins 9.0% 837.1 1102.1 -31.7%
Davante Adams 8.7% 1075.6 1071.8 0.4%
Jarvis Landry 8.5% 875.4 1057.6 -20.8%
Stefon Diggs 8.1% 995.1 1023.0 -2.8%
Allen Robinson 7.9% 959.4 1003.3 -4.6%
Alshon Jeffery 7.8% 899.2 993.1 -10.4%
Doug Baldwin 7.4% 1048.4 960.0 8.4%
Keenan Allen 7.2% 1262.6 945.9 25.1%
Emmanuel Sanders 7.1% 874 931.7 -6.6%
Randall Cobb 7.0% 771.1 922.5 -19.6%
DeSean Jackson 6.7% 746.1 896.9 -20.2%
Larry Fitzgerald 6.6% 1003.4 888.2 11.5%
Pierre Garcon 5.7% 922.4 809.5 12.2%
Donte Moncrief 5.4% 450.9 785.7 -74.3%
Marvin Jones 5.2% 891.7 762.5 14.5%
Marqise Lee 4.8% 772 731.4 5.3%
Kenny Stills 4.8% 796.2 730.8 8.2%

An 8.1 percent cap liability should produce, per the model, 1,023 yards. Diggs is expected to produce 995.1 yards, making his value almost perfectly in line with his expectation as the fourth-closest receiver in the 25-receiver set to his expected output.

That notably puts him in a better position than Brandin Cooks, Sammy Watkins and Jarvis Landry, all of whom have contracts that — according to consensus — vastly overvalue them.

These expectations are tied to injury, too.

Diggs in a fully healthy season is very likely to overproduce. In the first four games of the season, before Diggs was injured, he put together 391 yards. In the final four games of the season, when he was arguably fully healed, he added 219 yards to his season total. Altogether, those eight games add up to 76.3 yards per game, or 1,220 for the season — and that’s with the Vikings only passing on 52.5 percent of snaps, 28th in the league in pass percentage.

Diggs, who led the NFL in contested catch rate per Pro Football Focus, has a lot of admirers — with some stats to back it up.

That gives him the potential to break out and overperform his contract in a big way, though for now, it looks as if the Vikings and Diggs have come to an agreement exactly in line with expectations.


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