You hear it from fans every year. After a player gets a big signing bonus or record-breaking deal, they fear the player will regress. With money in pocket, some believe players have a lot less to play for now that they’re set for life.
While that theory rarely has any legitimacy to it, it’s definitely not true of Quandre Diggs. Just hours after the Lions announced his three-year extension worth $20.4 million, he shot down that assumption Monday afternoon.
“I’m always going to have motivation, man,” Diggs told reporters. “I’m a sixth-round draft pick, so at the end of the day 32 teams passed me up, so I’m always going to have a chip on my shoulder. Ain’t gonna be nothing different.”
Diggs has been clearly using that motivation from Day 1. In his rookie year, he not only made the 53-man roster, but he appeared in all 16 games and even made four starts. In fact, he played at least eight defensive snaps in 15 of 16 games, which is nearly unheard of for a sixth-round rookie.
And he thrived, too. He was one of the highest rated Lions defensive players per Pro Football Focus.
“His playing time has greatly increased during the second half of the season, and his performance has followed. Diggs is now Detroit’s third-highest graded defensive player behind Slay and Ziggy Ansah.”
But it wasn’t just motivation that has helped Diggs along the way. The former Texas star credits Detroit’s solid cast of defensive backs throughout the years for making him the player he is today.
“When I got here, I had great guys like Rashean Mathis, GQ (Glover Quin) of course, Don Carey,” Diggs said. “I’ve always had great meetings, great mentorship including Josh Wilson and James Ihedigbo. For me, it’s a blessing.”
Now Diggs has become the mentor. In just three season’s of work, he’s expanded his role from reserve nickel corner to starting corner and legitimate safety starter, as well. That’s why general manager Bob Quinn referred to him as “one of our core defensive players” and head coach Matt Patricia called him “a critical part of our team defensively.”
But for Diggs, this is just the beginning. Tomorrow is another day, and it’s no different than the day before he was granted a $20 million contract.
“It’s a huge relief, but at the end of the day, you still got to put in work to show the Lions that you deserve every penny of it. My whole mindset hasn’t changed. I’m going to continue to go out and work.”