Popular Backup to Bills QB Josh Allen Returns to Team on New Contract

Matt Barkley

Getty Matt Barkley looks to pass in a game against the New York Jets.

Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane hinted this week that the team won’t be making many sweeping changes in the offseason after a stinging playoff loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

The team has already worked on at least one piece of that continuity, giving a new deal for the popular backup to quarterback Josh Allen. One day after the January 22 loss to the Bengals, the Bills announced that they signed 13 players to reserve/future contracts for 2023, including veteran quarterback Matt Barkley.

These contracts are used to sign players who weren’t on the active roster but are candidates to fight for a spot in training camp. Though Barkley was never elevated from the practice squad this season, he is seen as an important piece of the quarterback room and could be a strong candidate to return next year.

Matt Barkley Shunned Bigger Offer to Remain in Buffalo

Barkley first joined the Bills in the 2018 season, a veteran addition after the rookie Allen suffered an elbow injury. He started one game that season, leading the Bills to a win over the New York Jets, and appeared in seven games over the following two seasons.

After bouncing around the league in 2021, Barkley returned to the Bills last offseason — at the direct request of Allen. The Athletic‘s Kaylin Kahler reported on December 27 that Allen received a call from general manager Brandon Beane last offseason asking him to help convince edge rusher Von Miller to sign with Buffalo.

Allen, who was golfing with Barkley at the time, said he wanted his former teammate back as well.

“I’m like, alright, well, I need you to sign Matt,” Allen said. “And he said, okay I’ll see what I can do.”

The Bills signed Barkley the following day, and he remained with the team throughout training camp and the preseason. When the Bills released Barkley at final cutdowns — with the intention of signing him back to the practice squad — the veteran quarterback said he received offers to sign with other teams on their active roster.

Though that would have given Barkley a substantial raise above the $358,000 he made on Buffalo’s practice squad, he turned down the offers.

“All last year, it’s like man, wish I could have been back with the Bills,” he said. “We played the Bills with each team, so I saw everyone three times last year. It was wild.”

Another Former Bills QB Could Return This Offseason

The Bills could bring back another former backup to Allen this offseason. Davis Webb, who spent time with the Bills and New York Giants, is considering a transition into a coaching role this offseason, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported.

Jordan Dajani of CBS Sports reported that the Bills offered Webb the quarterbacks coach job last offseason, but he decided to try one more season as a player and ended up getting the first start of his career in New York’s Week 18 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Bills could have another opening for that position this year, as the NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported that the Los Angeles Chargers requested an interview with Buffalo’s quarterbacks coach, Joe Brady, for their vacant offensive coordinator role.

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