Matt Barkley was unexpectedly in the running to be the main backup amid Kyle Allen’s ongoing struggles, but such hype was put to bed during the Bills’ 27- 15 preseason loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
After replacing Josh Allen, Barkley was intercepted three times in four pass attempts before getting sacked and losing a fumble. He completed 7-of-12 passes for 93 yards, and zero touchdowns before exiting the game with an elbow injury. While the veteran was placed on IR on Thursday, August 31, it was largely expected for Buffalo to keep Barkley around as a mentor since he’s such close friends with Josh Allen and chemistry in the quarterbacks’ room is paramount to the Bills superstar.
Therefore, it came as a surprise when ESPN’s Field Yates posted on Friday, September 1, “The Bills have released QB Matt Barkley from IR with an injury settlement. He can sign with another team immediately.”
While the Bills could choose to re-sign Barkley three weeks after his settlement time concludes, per Banged Up Bills, his wife, Britt Barkley, strongly insinuated he would not be returning to Buffalo this season. Before his injury settlement was announced, Britt shared a goodbye message to Bills Mafia on Instagram.
Britt posted several photos of the couple and their three children in Orchard Park and wrote, “🤍❤️💙 buffalo forever 🏼🥲.” Jordan Poyer’s wife Rachel Bush commented, “I LOVE YOU GUYS going to miss you so much ,” while Bills general manager Brandon Beane’s wife Hayley wrote, “And ever and ever and ever ❤️❤️❤️❤️you all are SO loved.”
The USC alum previously served as Josh Allen’s backup between 2018 and 2020, and he took a massive pay cut to return to the Bills practice squad for the 2022 NFL season. During his tenure in Buffalo, Barkley has played in eight games, completing 53-of-97 passing for 788 yards, three touchdowns, and four interceptions. In his one start against the New York Jets in Week 10 of the 2018 NFL season, the Bills won 41-10.
Bills Fans & Analysts Had Strongly Mixed Reactions to Matt Barkley’s Release
After Barkley’s release was announced,Buffalo Rumblings host Anthony Marino posted, “I consider this a bit of a surprise,” while a fan commented, “I’m surprised here, too. Does Barkley think he can contribute for a team besides in a coach type of role? I don’t.”
While the bulk of Bills Mafia was devastated to see the “Renegade” quarterback exit, if Barkley is looking to play this season, he needed to be released. If the former fourth-round pick from the 2013 NFL draft wants to be more than a sideline coach this season, the soon-to-be 32-year-old will need to look for an opportunity elsewhere.
WGR 550’s Sal Capaccio was not surprised by Barkley’s release, since it “allows him to re-join Bills after several weeks (based on what settlement is).” But that “doesn’t mean he definitely will if Bills if they feel they have enough now with Shane Buechele or he wants a different opportunity… My guess is Barkley doesn’t want to coach. He wants to play.”
Throughout his NFL career, Barkley has completed 58.4% of his passes for 2,699 yards, 11 touchdowns and 22 interceptions in 19 games.
The Bills Signed Former Chiefs Backup QB Shane Buechele
After Barkley was placed on IR, the Bills moved to sign former Chiefs quarterback Shane Buechele, who was released by Kansas City after the team named Blaine Gabbert as Patrick Mahomes’ QB2. The 25-year-old quarterback has never taken a regular-season snap, but he shined during the preseason this year, tallying 349 passing yards, three touchdowns, and three interceptions.
With just nine days before the Bills season opener against the New York Jets on Monday, September 11, Kyle Allen will start the year as Josh Allen’s main backup. In a perfect world, Josh Allen plays every snap this season and Kyle Allen never takes the field. But should the Bills need to utilize their backup, Buechele, after getting familiar with the offensive playbook, could take over as QB2 since Kyle Allen only won the role by default.