On Tuesday, as the Buffalo Bills trimmed their roster to 53, the team placed quarterback Matt Barkley on season-ending Injured Reserve (IR).
Barkley, who started the preseason in a tight competition with Kyle Allen for the seat behind Josh Allen in the quarterback room, was injured in the Bills’ second preseason game — one which they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
#Bills Matt Barkley R elbow injury.— Banged Up Bills (@BangedUpBills) August 20, 2023
Reports confirm this is a R elbow injury.
Can see Steelers face mask hits Barkley’s elbow on the outside before he goes down.
Arm was cocked & hit which always worries for UCL, but appears to be nothing more than just bruising & swelling. pic.twitter.com/49IdISqQ5E
Barkley was promptly listed as “day to day” by head coach Sean McDermott, but we all know that just means he isn’t telling us anything until he has to. The 10-year-veteran, who was with the Bills from 2018-2020 and then returned to the team via the practice squad last season, was inactive for Buffalo’s final preseason game on Saturday.
Being placed on IR before the season begins (tomorrow) is technically season-ending but, as with everything, there are loopholes and season-ending isn’t really the end of a player’s season. Potentially, the Bills could offer Barkley an injury settlement and then re-sign him after the conclusion of however many weeks they paid him for plus three additional weeks.
Of course, there are two problems with this scenario — the first being that Barkley could potentially sign somewhere else. This is highly unlikely as he chose to come back to Buffalo and even took a pay cut to do so.
The bigger problem with the Bills losing Barkley before the season begins is that they now only have two quarterbacks. The NFL passed a new rule this spring that will allow teams to carry a third quarterback on their game-day roster — an “emergency quarterback” — without it counting against their game-day actives. And, should the Bills not want a third quarterback on their active roster, they still need someone to be there learning the system and ready to back up Kyle Allen should the unspeakable happen and he have to become the first Allen on the roster instead of the second.
Keep your eyes open over the next two weeks as the Bills will have to find someone to fill a QB position on the practice squad.