As the Cowboys shift from free agency to the draft, let's focus on players who are under contract, with a look back to last year but still focusing on their role for the 2023 season. Today, we'll continue the series with cornerback Trevon Diggs.
What Worked: The NFL found out just how good Diggs was in 2021 over the course of his historic campaign with 11 interceptions, so the bar was already exceedingly high coming into last season. While he did not match his interception total from the previous season, he still tallied three of them while securing a career-high in tackles with 59 along with his 14 pass deflections in his second Pro Bowl level season. He allowed a career-low 12.2 yards per receptions against his opponents and another career-low in touchdowns allowed at just three. Furthermore, Diggs blew through his snap count of 1,015 in 2021, finishing with 1,116 snaps defensively to serve as a defensive anchor.
Needs Some Work: One of the biggest knocks against Diggs in his breakout season was his ability to allow big plays with his boom or bust approach to coverage. He addressed those concerns to some degree with the coverage stats mentioned above and was even targeted considerably less by offenses (103 in 2021 to 85 in 2022). However, in that smaller sample size Diggs saw the completion percentage against him increase from 52.4% to 64.7% last season, or 54 catches the previous year to 55 catches in 2022. Even still, Diggs overall made big strides in becoming a much better player in coverage.
His Best Work: Diggs best game of the season came in a game in which he didn't record an interception nor a tackle even. Given the assignment of primarily covering Terry McLaurin in the Cowboys' Week 4 matchup with the Commanders, Diggs made McLaurin a non-factor from start to finish with just three catches for 74 yards, including multiple pass break-ups late in the game to secure the win for Dallas to show off his well-rounded ability at the cornerback spot.
Contract Consideration: Diggs is in the final year of his rookie contract after being a second-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, meaning the Cowboys do not hold a fifth-year option. He'll make $4.3 million in base salary while holding a cap charge of just over $4.8 million. Unquestionably the Cowboys will look to try and come to terms with Diggs on a long-term extension but would have the option of using the franchise tag next offseason if necessary.
What's Next: A contract extension will be something to watch moving forward with Diggs and the Cowboys with his current deal set to expire at season's end. In the meantime, Diggs will be paired up with former Defensive Player of the Year in Stephon Gilmore after a trade with the Colts, giving the Cowboys two excellent perimeter corners to go along with rookie standout DaRon Bland in the slot. Diggs has shown the ability to improve aspects of his game each year with the Cowboys, so 2023 should be no different.
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