ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Bills continue to see wide receiver Stefon Diggs as a No. 1 wide receiver, general manager Brandon Beane said Tuesday.

His comments come after Diggs experienced a significant dip in his production over the last half of the 2023 season.

"Stef's, he's a No. 1 receiver. I firmly believe that, not wavering off of that," Beane said. "... Listen, we have to continue to put weapons out there to keep teams from bracketing him or, you know, locking him down in different ways to take him away. They know you are going to want him. Stef can still play, I'm sure he would love to have that deep ball again, he'd be the first to tell you. He's super competitive, he's going to work his tail off this offseason. I know there's various reasons or questions on this or his production, all that, but I still see Stef as a No. 1 receiver."

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The "deep ball" referenced by Beane was a pass by quarterback Josh Allen in the fourth quarter of the team's 27-24 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday in the divisional round. On first-and-10 from the Buffalo 20-yard line with 8:23 remaining, Allen uncorked a pass that had an air distance of 63.4 yards but went through the hands of Diggs. It was the first play on what eventually was the Bills' final offensive drive of the game. The 16-play, 54-yard drive ended in a 44-yard missed field goal by kicker Tyler Bass.

Diggs finished the game with three receptions on eight targets for 21 yards. His final 100-yard receiving game of the season came in Week 6, and he finished the final seven games of the season, including playoffs, averaging 41 receiving yards per game and with zero receiving touchdowns. That marked the first time in his career he has gone seven straight games without a receiving touchdown.

"I can't say in particular why specifically [Diggs' production dropped]," coach Sean McDermott said Tuesday. "If I could, we would flip it back that way, right? To the way it started earlier in the year. Sometimes defenses evolve, sometimes there are more things on tape through the course of the season and people copy them, what's on tape.

"Listen, Stef is a great player. I love Stef. He was a phenomenal teammate. I like how the offense found some rhythm, though, under [interim offensive coordinator Joe Brady], and Stef got back involved at times, especially down the stretch, at least in the last two or three games, so to speak."

From Week 1 to Week 6 (six games), Diggs caught 49 of 62 targets (74.2%) for 620 yards, 5 receiving touchdowns and 31 receiving touchdowns. From Week 7 through the postseason (13 games), he caught 68 of 111 targets (61.3%) for 636 yards, 3 receiving touchdowns and 32 first downs. He was tied for eighth in the league in drops (seven) and led Buffalo, and he had 66 more targets than any other Bill.

Diggs, 30, was not present during the team's locker room cleanout open to the media Monday but has repeatedly publicly expressed his desire to stay with the Bills. The three-time captain signed a four-year, $140 million contract extension in April 2022 that links him to the team through the 2027 season.

"I've never really said anything about being unhappy or any instance of that," Diggs said in November. "So, when you're drawing conclusions as to stuff I've never said, that's what kind of troubles me because it kind of throws a wrench in it. ... I've been in the same place, and I've spoken true words. I've said the same thing over and over and over. So, when you draw a conclusion as to how I feel in my foreseeable future here, I've never said anything but I was a Buffalo Bill. I gave it everything I got. I'm a professional, and I treat this game as such."

At wide receiver, Gabe Davis said Monday that he plans to explore free agency in March, while second-year receiver Khalil Shakir had a strong season, including from Week 11, with 30 receptions on 37 targets for 438 yards and three touchdowns (compared with Diggs' 44 receptions on 75 targets for 388 and one touchdown during that stretch).

Continuously adding to give defenses more to defend against and options for Allen is something the Bills will continue to assess.

"We're always looking for mismatches," Beane said. "... So, yes, any guy that causes the defense that you can put them in a look and get them where you can dictate to them. And if that's, you know, another receiver to offset Stef or whoever else, yes, we wouldn't hesitate to do that."

Meanwhile, when it comes to the Bills' future after a third straight loss in the divisional round, Beane said, "I don't get into that 'window is closed' mindset. Your team is always changing and evolving" and said that although the team might be younger in some areas -- the Bills are estimated to be about $49 million over the cap (depending on the 2024 cap number, which is still to be announced) -- he still believes the team will be competitive.

"I'm not laying my head down at tonight going, 'We don't have a shot at it next year,'" Beane said.