Allen Park — The Lions dealt one of their most popular players near the NFL’s trade deadline for the second straight year, this time sending safety Quandre Diggs to Seattle.
The captain was moved Tuesday along with a seventh-round pick in 2021 for a fifth-round pick in 2020. The deal, first reported by NFL Network and then confirmed by The Detroit News, mirrors last season’s decision to send wide receiver Golden Tate to Philadelphia in the run up to the deadline.
Coincidentally, the first Lions’ game since moving on from Diggs will be Sunday against Tate, now with the New York Giants. Detroit (2-3-1) will be trying to snap a three-game losing streak against quarterback Daniel Jones and the 2-5 Giants, themselves on a three-game skid.
The NFL’s trade deadline is next Tuesday, and the Lions might be in the market for running back help after Tuesday’s news that Kerryon Johnson had a knee surgery and will be placed on injured reserve.
The 5-foot-9 Diggs, 26, missed the Oct. 14 Green Bay game with a hamstring injury, but returned to Sunday’s 42-30 loss to Minnesota, making four tackles and playing 75% of Detroit’s defensive snaps.
In five seasons since being selected in the sixth round in 2015, Diggs had 229 tackles and six interceptions in 65 games with the Lions.
He worked his way from special teams player to nickel cornerback to full-time starter at safety for Detroit and was named captain this season.
Diggs went to social media Tuesday night to thank Lions fans, and alert former teammate defensive end Ziggy Ansah, and also wide receiver Tyler Lockett, about his arrival.
"Wow!! Never thought this would be my last picture running out the tunnel in Ford Field," Diggs posted on Instagram. "To all my former teammates I love you guys and it was a pleasure going to battle with y’all! Made friendships that will last forever! Thank you also to the Ford family for the hospitality and drafting a 22 year old kid from Angleton, TX! Lions fans I love you guys from the bottom of my heart you guys deserve the best, made me feel at home and kept the stadium rocking! Seattle let’s get it!! Ready to get to work and win more games!! Too hyped!! @tdlockett12 @ziggy_ansah my brothers here I come!!
The Texas product and younger brother of former Chargers cornerback Quentin Jammer earned a three-year contract extension before last season worth $20.4 million.
Diggs was due a pay bump next season, from $2.7 million to $5 million in base salary. The team will save around $3.5 million in cap space in 2020 with the move.
The Lions have drafted safeties in the third round in each of the last two seasons, and second-year man Tracy Walker and rookie Will Harris have played big roles this season for head coach Matt Patricia’s defense.
A popular player in the locker room, Diggs replaced the retired Glover Quin as the unofficial defensive spokesman this year.
HIs mates on defense responded with shock on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon, with cornerback Darius Slay quote-tweeting the trade move and posting, “WTF,” then “This some bull s**t here” and “This one hit be bra.”
Cornerback Jamal Agnew also chimed in: “Nooooooooooooooooo” and defensive tackle Damon Harrison posted: “Wowwwwwwwww no way.”
Matt Schoch is a freelance writer.