Stefon Diggs apparently was close to playing for the Patriots in 2020.
Moreover, New England reportedly was given every opportunity to acquire the star receiver over the offseason.
Diggs last March was traded to the Buffalo Bills, who sent the Minnesota Vikings four draft picks, one of which wound up turning into budding star receiver Justin Jefferson. To land the Maryland product, the Bills had to outbid their longtime AFC East nemesis, according to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport.
Check out this excerpt from Rapoport’s column published Sunday morning:
Sources say that when the Minnesota Vikings were poised to deal star receiver Stefon Diggs on March 16 in a blockbuster trade that included a first-round pick, it was the Bills and New England Patriots as the two final suitors.
In fact, before Minnesota received four picks — including a first-round pick — from Buffalo for the playmaker, they called New England to give them a chance to match or improve the offer. When Bill Belichick and the Patriots declined, Diggs was off to the Bills.
Obviously, Diggs could’ve changed everything for the Patriots.
He was moved to the Bills less than a week before Tom Brady elected to sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Would the acquisition of Diggs have convinced Brady to stay in New England? Perhaps.
Additionally, Diggs would have made a world of difference for Cam Newton, whom the Patriots signed later in the offseason. Though Newton certainly is responsible for many of his 2020 struggles, the lack of a true No. 1 wideout didn’t help.
Diggs was exceptional his first season in Buffalo. The 29-year-old racked up 127 receptions and 1,535 receiving yards, both of which led the NFL. He and the Bills will face the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday in the AFC Championship Game.