As quarterback Matt Barkley heads home to rehab after suffering an injury and being released by the Buffalo Bills, the veteran quarterback faces an uncertain future and rumors that he could retire from the game.
As USA Today’s Nick Wojton noted, the 32-year-old appeared to be set to return to his role as the No. 3 quarterback on the practice squad before his preseason was cut short by an elbow injury. Barkley reached an injury settlement with the Bills, who released him prior to the final roster deadline.
As Wojton noted, Barkley’s next step remains unclear.
Matt Barkley ‘Off to Rehab’
Barkley’s wife, Britt Barkley, revealed the quarterback’s plans for the immediate future when she shared an Instagram post thanking Bills fans and stating that they were returning home so he could rehab his injured elbow.
As Wojton pointed out, her post led to rumors that Barkley might retire.
“[Britt Barkley’s] first message made some wonder if he’s set to retire from football, but she insisted that her message noting the ‘beautiful time we had here’ was just a little shout out to Buffalo,” Wojton wrote.
“The second then explains Barkley is just heading out of town to rehab and the hope is that there will be more football in his future.”
While Barkley would be free to sign with any team, some believe that he could find his way back to Buffalo this season. Reporter Sal Capaccio of WGR 550 predicted before Barkley’s injury settlement that he could be a candidate for the Bills’ practice squad.
“While Barkley is currently on season-ending IR, there’s always the possibility of an injury settlement/release,” Capaccio wrote on Twitter. “That would allow the Bills to re-sign him after a few weeks. In the meantime, they’d get a look at Shane Buechele, then decide if they want to keep one or both on PS.”
Matt Barkley Played Important Role in Buffalo
Barkley first signed with the Bills in 2018, joining the team mid-season after an injury to then-rookie Josh Allen. Barkley started and won a game against the New York Jets that season, but played a more important role as a mentor to Allen. He remained with the Bills until 2021, when he left in free agency and spent time with three different teams.
Barkley re-signed with the Bills in 2022, with Allen playing a big role in his return. The Bills quarterback explained that general manager Brandon Beane reached out to ask him to help recruit edge rusher Von Miller, and Allen made a counter-offer.
“I’m like, alright, well, I need you to sign Matt,” Allen said, via The Athletic. “And he said, okay I’ll see what I can do.”
Though Barkley remained on the practice squad all of last season, he earned some buzz at the start of this preseason after turning in a sharp performance in the August 12 preseason win over the Indianapolis Colts.
Barkley was close to perfect in Buffalo’s 23-19 win, completing 14-of-15 passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns, good for a 152.7 quarterback rating. With backup Kyle Allen struggling through training camp and the preseason, there was some buzz that Barkley could compete for the No. 2 spot before the injury cut short his preseason and brought an end to his time in Buffalo.