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The Houston Texans made a big splash last week trading a package that included a second-round pick for superstar wide receiver Stefon Diggs. To make it even more interesting, Houston slashed the last three years off Diggs' deal so he will be a free agent after the season. 

It could end up being a high price tag for a one-year rental, especially after Diggs ended his Buffalo Bills tenure with 13 straight games under 100 receiving yards (including playoffs), the longest streak of his NFL career. 

So the question is, what version of Diggs are the Texans getting? The one who led the NFL in catches in four years in Buffalo and started off the 2023 season with 100 receiving yards in five or his first six games? Or the one who looked like a shell of his former self as the season progressed?

Stefon Diggs last season (including playoffs)

First Six GamesLast 13 Games

Receiving yards per game






100-yard games



How did Diggs' production so suddenly fall off a cliff? There's a few possible explanations. He could be on the back nine of his career. He turned 30 last November, an age where star wide receivers commonly see a downtick in production.

It could have been an injury. Diggs didn't miss any games last year, but he was on the injury report with a back issue in Week 10 before his numbers really went south. His strained relationship with the Bills might also have something to do with it.

The mostly likely explanation, though, was the promotion of Joe Brady to offensive coordinator after Ken Dorsey was fired. Diggs' production was cut in half after Brady took over as the OC in Week 11, which amounted to the final nine games of the season, including playoffs.

Diggs averaged the fewest yards per reception (8.8) of any wide receiver in the league with Brady (min. 25 targets).

Diggs before/after Brady promoted to OC last season


Receptions per game



Rec yards per game



Yards per reception



That's surprising to say the last, especially if Brady is as creative as some say he is. The numbers paint a different picture, though, especially in areas where you'd expect Brady's creativity to shine with his top weapon. 

  • Diggs had just 23 receiving yards on play action in nine games with Brady, compared with 346 prior. 
  • Diggs averaged 8.6 yards per reception as the motion man with Brady, versus 15.5 prior.
  • Half of Diggs' targets with Brady were either screens or quick hitches (42% prior).

He also wasn't the focal point of the offense. He was on the field less (snap rate dropped from 87% to 77%). The Bills passed less (dropback rate went from 63% to 53%) and Diggs' target share dropped (31% to 27%) especially in key situations where you would expect your top receiver to get the ball.

Diggs target share before/after Brady promoted to OC





Red zone



Third down



If 2023 was any indication, Texans' offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik (and C.J. Stroud) should be able to maximize Diggs in this offense, just like he did with Nico Collins, Tank Dell and Noah Brown last year. The one area they should specifically be able to get more from Diggs is the vertical passing game. 

Diggs wasn't a factor in that area with Joe Brady, catching just three of 19 balls thrown 15-plus air yards, the worst rate (16%) among players with at least 10 targets. Diggs caught 17-of-29 passes thrown that deep in his first 10 games of the year. Barring an undisclosed injury, evidence points toward Brady's inability to scheme Diggs open.

C.J. Stroud and Co. had no issue generating explosive plays. He had the second-most 25-yard completions (40) by any quarterback through 15 career games in the last 30 years behind Patrick Mahomes (48). Diggs had just one 25-yard catch in nine games with Brady. 

If Houston can get that part of Diggs' game back, a return to superstar form is in order. Diggs should have a clean bill of health entering the season, if he didn't already. There should be no issues with motivation between a change of scenery to another AFC contender and Diggs entering a contract year. Most importantly, he will be playing in a better offensive system led by Bobby Slowik instead of Joe Brady.