Josh Allen says he's 'floating on cloud nine' after Bills trade for Stefon Diggs
The Bills have done a good job of surrounding Allen with talented players to help him succeed
The most important thing a team can do in the modern NFL is put its quarterback in position to succeed. There are some quarterbacks who are so good that they can overcome any type of deficient infrastructure around them, but those players are rare. Most quarterbacks need a solid offensive line, strong pass-catchers, and a play-caller who schemes those players open quickly enough for the QB to set his feet and fire.
The easiest and perhaps most beneficial time for teams to establish that type of infrastructure is while their quarterback is still on a rookie-scale contract. The league's best quarterbacks earn orders of magnitude more than those whose salaries are limited by the collective bargaining agreement; but those depressed early-career salaries allow teams additional space to add talent that helps prop up whatever shortcomings those quarterbacks may have during their development stages.
Over the past two seasons, the Buffalo Bills have been one of the league's most aggressive teams when it comes to making sure they take advantage of their quarterback's rookie deal. Josh Allen is headed into the third season of his career. As a rookie he did not have much in the way of help from his offensive line or his pass-catchers. Last year, the Bills added John Brown and Cole Beasley on the outside, plus Quinton Spain, Mitch Morse, and Cody Ford up front.
The result was Allen taking a sizable step forward. His completion rate rose 6 percentage points, his touchdown rate rose by nearly 50 percent, and his interception rate was nearly cut in half. But even Allen's improved performance was not enough to get him to the level of a league-average quarterback. His 85.3 passer rating was 5.1 points south of the NFL average, while his completion percentage, yards per attempt, and touchdown rate all fell short of average as well.
So, the Bills have tried to once again upgrade the talent around him. They sent their 2020 first-round pick (No. 22 overall), 2020 fifth-round pick, 2020 sixth-round pick, and 2021 fourth-round pick to the Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs and Minnesota's 2020 seventh-rounder. Diggs is carrying career per-16 games averages of 83 catches for 1,057 yards and seven touchdowns, making him clearly the highest-caliber receiver on the team. And Allen, for one, is pretty excited to work with him.
"I'm still pumped about it," Allen said during a recent radio appearance, per New York Upstate. "I'm still floating on cloud nine right now. I just can't wait to get to work with him. Obviously with all this stuff going around, traveling and trying to get in touch, start throwing with him, that's going to be a little delayed. I just want to get back to work. We've been staying in contact and trying to devise a plan of how we can get together. But man, the things he can do on a football field are unbelievable. The route running. The way he can make contested catches. I've talked to him on the phone a couple times and just how cool of a dude he seems. He's going to match in very well with our wide receiver group, he's going to match within our locker room and with our team. Big-time playmaker. He's going to help us out a lot this year."
Bringing in Diggs as the No. 1 receiver allows both Brown and Beasley to move into slightly more complementary roles. Brown will now likely be freed to work one-on-one on the outside, while Beasley will have even more space to operate in the underneath areas of the field. Add in the dynamism of Devin Singletary as a pass-catcher out of the backfield, and Allen is being placed in far better position to succeed heading into the third year of his career than he was as a rookie. He still has a ways to go before he's anywhere close to being the type of quarterback who can overcome any deficiencies in his surroundings, so good on the Bills for making sure he has everything he needs while they're able to spend enough to afford it.
Pick Six Newsletter
Get the day's big stories + fun stuff you love like mock drafts, picks and power rankings.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox for the latest sports news.
There was an error processing your subscription.
TB12 is apparently the 'Pied Piper' on Tampa Bay's rebuilt roster
It doesn't appear like Kyle Long is heading to New York
We break down Carolina's depth chart heading into next season
The Bengals made a lot of moves this offseason, and here's who their likely starters will be
It's reportedly the largest structure in the world made from a 3D printer
This would take America's Team from division frontrunners to league dominance
Here's the perfect way to keep track of all your schedule leaks and updates in one place
CBS Sports is bringing you live updates and analysis as the 2020 NFL Draft wraps up on Saturday
Live scores, highlights and updates from the Jaguars vs. Colts football game