The Stefon Diggs Extension Puts the Bears’ Search for Receiver Help in a New Perspective

Stefon Diggs becomes the latest big-play receiver to cash in on an offseason of NFL teams are risking it all to make pass-catchers happy. ESPN’s Adam Schefter has the details on how the Buffalo Bills are keeping Josh Allen’s top target happy with a whole bunch of new money:

Diggs’ new deal brings him to $124.1 million over the next six years to stick around in Buffalo, and transforms the Bills into the first team to give guarantees of $100 million to a QB and $70 million to a WR at the same time. That kind of cash could buy a bunch of tables to smash at tailgates. And while I dream of participating in a Bills Mafia tailgate before I kick the bucket, the Diggs deal puts into focus some Bears-related items.

For one, it provides yet another data point to help shape our receiver discussion. Not necessarily because the Bears are in a position to shell out that kind of cash to a receiver. They aren’t. And even if they were, the offseason approach from first-year GM Ryan Poles makes me wonder if they’d consider it in the first place. Beyond that, Diggs’ new deal should further underscore how important it is for the Bears to get it right at the receiver position in the upcoming NFL Draft.

Unfortunately, that may be easier said than done:

Sigh. Leave it to a long-time draftnik to throw a cold bucket of water on my loftiest dreams.

Zierlein’s tweet is what I’ve been dreading since waves of trades and free agent signings have passed without the Bears making an upgrade at the position. To be clear, overrated doesn’t equal bad. Those two words aren’t synonyms. Moreover, there could very well be plenty of value at the top of the second round (where the Bears pick 39th and 48th) and throughout the draft. But one of my fears about defaulting to “well, the Bears can get their receivers in the draft” is becoming all too plausible.

And Day 2 picks are so unpredictable. Sometimes, you’ll get A.J. Brown, D.K. Metcalf, Cooper Kupp, and Davante Adams. And other times you’ll get Anthony Miller, Tutu Atwell, Andy Isabella, and Dante Pettis. That’s why I was hoping the Bears would try to upgrade the room by pairing a draft pick with upside to a free agent with a track record. Alas.

In the end, all of this reinforces how important it is to scout, draft, and develop players. Particularly at the skill positions. This isn’t just about unearthing some pass-catching help for Justin Fields. Right now? Yeah, it’s about that. But big picture? This organization needs (1) more picks and (2) better picks on draft weekend. The more chances they get to draft, the better the odds of finding a player worth giving a Diggs-like contract in the future. But this team — as currently constructed — isn’t in a place to dish out that type of cash. And certainly not to any of the pass-catchers currently on the roster.

written by

Luis C. Medina, who you can find on Twitter at lcm1986, has been covering the Chicago Bears at Bleacher Nation since 2017. Since then, he has written about 3 head coaches, 5 play-callers, and 11 starting quarterbacks. Previously, Luis wrote about the Cubs and MLB at BN (2015-16) and worked in the Chicago Tribune sports department (2011-16). He also co-hosted a Cubs postgame show, Outside the Ivy, in 2019.

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