Buffalo Bills free agency review: QB Matt Barkley

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Nick Wojton
·3 min read
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The Buffalo Bills enter the 2021 offseason after completing their most successful season in 25 years. While this good performance has folks brimming over with confidence, it does mean that some players who have played out their contract will look for a payday and possibly greener pastures.

In this edition of the free agency review, Bills Wire takes a look at quarterback Matt Barkley:

Season stats

Bills quarterback Matt Barkley. Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Barkley is the one guy on the Bills that make you happier the less you see of him. That's the territory that comes with being a backup quarterback behind a budding star in Josh Allen. In terms of Barkley, he hasn't made a start for the Bills since 2018. He only saw extended playing time in one game in 2020. In that outing, Barkley was 6-for-13 passing with a touchdown and interception. He had 164 total yards.

Snap counts

Bills quarterback Matt Barkley (Gannett photo)

Against the Dolphins in the Bills' regular season finale, Barkley saw most of his 2020 playing time. For the entire year, Barkley played in 53 total snaps on Buffalo's offense. That amounted to five percent of the team's total on the entire season, which was lower than the seven percent he played in, in each of his first two years with the Bills.

2020 review

Bills quarterback Matt Barkley. (AP Photo/John Munson)

So much of Barkley's review comes down to things we simply just don't know about. You can listen to any writer or analyst of the Bills and have them tell you he's a good locker room guy behind the scenes, and while he does seem like that, no one really knows and truthfully, that's where he earns most of his paycheck. In mop up and backup duties on the field which we can analyze? Barkley has never really wowed. He's steady.

The future

Bills quarterbacks Josh Allen (17) and Matt Barkley (5). Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

The Bills have a good thing going with Allen and Barkley, as far as we can tell. Assuming all the good we hear about their relationship is true, the Bills should value him enough to bring Barkley back. Barkley was previously playing on a two-year, $4 million deal. Due to COVID-19 causing the NFL financial troubles leading to the decline of the salary cap next season, Barkley might have to take a lesser sum to keep his job. The biggest reasoning for keeping Barkley around is simple: The only other two QBs behind Allen are Davis Webb and Jake Fromm. They have no experience to lean on. The down side to Barkley is that he is the backup for Allen, who is a dynamic, dual-threat quarterback. When Barkley enters the game, everything for the Bills offense changes, but it's kind of impossible to find a backup like that anyway.

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