The Buffalo Bills were once again in the market for a new backup for superstar quarterback Josh Allen after Case Keenum signed a two-year deal to return to the Houston Texans just hours after the NFL’s official free agency tampering period opened in March, but the role didn’t remain vacant long.
The Bills quickly signed Allen’s real-life best friend with the same surname, Kyle Allen. The 27-year-old, who played for the Texans last year, spent the offseason training alongside the Bills star, and went on a group vacation together. So, having great chemistry in the quarterbacks’ room, a paramount factor for Josh, was not a worry.
However, what has been worrisome, Allen’s performance in training camp. The Athletic‘s Joe Buscaglia isn’t seeing improvement, and following practice on Wednesday, August 9, suggested team may be “forced” into finding a new option before the start of the 2023 NFL season.
Allen has “consistently turned the ball over either through bad throws or not being on the same page with his wide receivers,” Buscaglia wrote. “Kyle Allen had probably his worst interception of training camp Wednesday, where he wobbled a throw at least seven yards short of his intended target and right into the arms of Siran Neal, who only had to jump to make the catch.”
The Buffalo News‘ Jay Skurski noted from Wednesday’s practice how “Allen fumbled a shotgun snap from Alec Anderson, leading to a big loss on the play for the offense.”
Allen, the former undrafted quarterback who’s playing for his sixth franchise in four years, has a chance to redeem himself during preseason matchups, but Buscaglia suggests they start looking a fresh arm sooner than later. “If these practices are any indication, there could be some alarm bells ringing in general manager Brandon Beane’s brain to get someone new in the picture with ample time to learn the offense before their season begins on September 11.”
Kyle Allen ‘Struggled Mightily’ During the Bills’ Mock Game Scrimmage
While the Bills would obviously be in big trouble should Josh Allen, their $258 million franchise quarterback, is forced to be off the field for an extended period of time, it behooves Buffalo to have a reliable backup that can step up should he need to miss a snap or two during the regular season.
In 23 game appearances and 19 starts throughout his career, Allen has passed for 4,734 yards, 26 touchdowns, and 21 interceptions.
Allen will need to flash some serious improvement when the Bills host the Indianapolis Colts for their preseason opener on Saturday, August 12 if he wants to secure his role behind Josh Allen. Unfortunately, the Texas A&M alum “struggled mightily” during the Bills mock game scrimmage last week.
NYup.com‘s Ryan Talbot wrote, “He had around four mishandled snaps at Friday’s scrimmage and wasn’t particularly sharp passing the ball. He had one nice touchdown pass to Trent Sherfield, but the play had been whistled and stopped by the official in the backfield. Kyle Allen seemed like a fine No. 2 quarterback option at the time of his signing, but he has left much to be desired.”
QB Matt Barkley Isn’t Looking Great Either
If it was only Allen struggling, the Bills could look to Matt Barkley to step up as QB2, however, he’s not exactly looking like an upgrade. “Barkley hasn’t been much better and might not be anything other than a practice squad quarterback at this stage of his career,” Buscaglia surmised.
Barkley, who previously served as Allen’s backup between 2018 and 2020, took a pay cut to rejoin the Bills last season after failing to make the 53-man roster. The third-string quarterback revealed to The Athletic‘s Kaylin Kahler that after he was initially cut in August, he received offers to sign with other teams — teams offering him a spot on the active roster.
If Barkley signed with one of those teams, he would’ve made at least $1.2 million for the season, the veteran’s minimum for a player with his experience — much more than the $358,200 he earned on the Bills’ practice squad. However, the NFL journeyman, who also refers to Josh Allen as a “best friend,” knew returning to Buffalo would be worth it. “All last year, it’s like man, wish I could have been back with the Bills,” he said.
In January, the Bills re-signed Barkley, who turns 33 in September, to a one-year, $1.25 million contract. As it stands, the door is wide open for Barkley to impress in the preseason and possibly earn back the QB2 role.