Getty Former Bills quarterback Matt Barkley is at Acrisure Stadium on August 19, 2023.
Former Buffalo Bills backup Matt Barkley is getting closer to another chance at a start in the NFL.
Barkley signed with the New York Giants practice squad on October 31 after Tyrod Taylor, another former Bills quarterback, was hospitalized with a rib injury. But injuries kept occurring.
A week later, the Giants announced that starting quarterback Daniel Jones (torn ACL) was out for the season. On Thursday, November 8, Barkley was added to the 53-man roster. With rookie quarterback Tommy DeVito making his first start in Week 10 against the Dallas Cowboys, Barkley is just one play away from stepping in.
However, there’s a strong chance that Giants head coach Brian Daboll, Buffalo’s former offensive coordinator, will make a change if DeVito falters. After replacing Taylor in Week 8, DeVito completed two of seven passes for negative yards and a rushing touchdown. After Jones went down in Week 9, DeVito went 15 of 20 for 175 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. The Giants (2-7) lost both games.
Speaking to the New York Post, Barkley made it clear that he’s ready to rock whenever his number is called. “I don’t know if there’s a timeline for it or if it’s up to me or not,” he said. “I’m going to do my best and show them I’ve got it in me.”
“The system is basically what I’m used to,” Barkley noted. “It’s almost plug and play. It’s just a matter of updating a few things they’ve changed – little modifications here and there over the last two years.”
Barkley is already familiar with Daboll’s plan. The USC graduate’s last regular season start was with the Bills in 2018 under coach Daboll. He threw for 232 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions in a 41-10 win over the Jets.
Matt Barkley almost stole the job from Kyle Allen to replace Bills QB Josh Allen
Before the 2023 NFL season began, the Bills backup quarterback position became an unexpected battle. Amidst Kyle Allen’s ongoing struggles, Barkley was suddenly the prime candidate.
However, that hype died down when the Bills lost 27-15 to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the preseason. After replacing starter Josh Allen, Barkley was intercepted three times on four pass attempts before being sacked and losing a fumble. He completed 7 of 12 passes for 93 yards and no touchdowns before leaving the game with an elbow injury.
The 33-year veteran was released with an indemnity and his wife, Britt Barkley, strongly indicated he would not return to Buffalo. Britt shared a farewell message to Bills Mafia on Instagram.
Posting several photos of the couple and their three children in Orchard Park, Britt wrote, “🤍❤️💙 Buffalo forever 🏼🥲.”
Barkley previously served as Josh Allen’s backup between 2018 and 2020 and took a massive pay cut to return to the Bills’ practice squad for the 2022 NFL season. During his tenure in Buffalo, he appeared in eight games and completed 53 of 97 passes for 788 yards, three touchdowns and four interceptions.
Giants QB Matt Barkley said his elbow feels good
Barkley practiced with the Giants for the first time in mid-October after rehabilitating in California. “I think it was designed to do that,” Barkley said.
“They preemptively checked the boxes to see if I was ready to go. They weren’t really sure what would happen if Tyrod went down. When they called me [last] I didn’t have to train or have a physical exam that week because we had already been through all that.”
Barkley tore his ACL in Buffalo but did not have to undergo surgery. “The elbow feels good,” Barkley said. “I feel this every offseason – you can throw and run as much as you want, but to get back in shape you have to play. It was a good transition.”
Daboll initially wavered on naming DeVito as the starter on November 6th. “My focus is on getting DeVito ready and getting Barkley up to speed,” Daboll told reporters. “And to do as good a job as we can with the people we’re going to have out there.”
The former Bills backup believes he is close to being ready. “Physically, I can make all the throws and plays I need,” he said. “But the biggest thing right now — if that were to happen — is getting to know the wideouts and tight ends and figuring out who would catch the ball. That always takes time.”
Emily Bicks is a strong sports journalist who specializes in covering the Buffalo Bills and Seattle Seahawks. She has been writing for Heavy since 2019 and has interviewed some of sports’ biggest stars, including Jerry Rice, Shaquille O’Neal and Stefon Diggs. More about Emily Bicks