The Minnesota Vikings have secured yet another core player with a long-term contract, signing wide receiver Stefon Diggs to a five-year extension.
The new deal is valued at $72m plus an additional $9m in possible incentives, according to The Associated Press.
Diggs, who will play the final season of his rookie deal for the original base salary of slightly more than $1.9m, received a $15m signing bonus.
“I love it here. I truly do, and I’m just happy I’ll be here for a while now,” Diggs said after practice Tuesday.
“That’s why I want to play for them for selecting me in the fifth round. It was a bumpy road that day, and I just remember getting a call, and they gave me a chance.
“They believed in me, and they won, and going forward they pushed me to be where I am now.”
Diggs formed a prolific tandem with Adam Thielen last year, helping Case Keenum stabilize the passing game after Sam Bradford was injured, and over his first three seasons has been one of the biggest steals of the 2015 draft.
“What I most like is he loves football and loves to come and work, because as a quarterback it can be miserable if you’re out here with someone who is here to just get a pay check and leave,” Cousins said. “He wants to work.”
Since Cousins signed his fully guaranteed $84m contract in March, the Vikings have signed linebacker Eric Kendricks, defensive end Danielle Hunter and now Diggs to multi-year deals.
The Vikings now have Cousins, Diggs, Thielen, running back Dalvin Cook, left tackle Riley Reiff, right guard Mike Remmers and center Pat Elflein all under team control through at least the 2020 season.
On defense, the same goes for Hunter, Kendricks, defensive end Everson Griffen, defensive tackle Linval Joseph, cornerback Xavier Rhodes and safety Harrison Smith.
That’s a lot of star power to squeeze under the salary cap, with linebacker Anthony Barr the only prominent player with an expiring contract this year.
“Continuity, to me, is very important, and it’s not a luxury we have in the NFL these days,” Cousins said.
“There is a lot of change year in and year out, so I’ve come to expect that and understand you can’t use that as an excuse.”