Even though the Buffalo Bills drafted Jake Fromm, the team should still keep Matt Barkley as their backup for at least this year.
The biggest surprise from the 2020 NFL Draft for the Buffalo Bills was the team’s selection of Jake Fromm in the fifth round. It is hard to argue with the pick considering the value the team got. He was at one time considered one of the top quarterbacks in this class and could develop into a starting quarterback in the future.
However, the key words there are “in the future” as Fromm is not ready to step into a starting role any time soon, and especially not as a rookie. This is why the Buffalo Bills need to keep Matt Barkley on the roster and as the team’s backup for at least this year.
The hope is that who the backup quarterback for the Buffalo Bills doesn’t have to come up at any point this upcoming season. This would mean that Josh Allen not only stayed healthy all year but he continued to show improvement from his performance last year.
If the need were to arise though, the Bills coaching staff shouldn’t have to turn to a rookie quarterback to lead a franchise that has playoff aspirations.
Barkley joined the team in 2018 when the Bills were in need of a starter after Josh Allen and Derek Anderson suffered injuries. He started one game that season going 15 of 25 for 232 passing yards and two touchdowns.
Then this past season, his playing time was fairly limited and he played roughly a quarter against the New England Patriots, going 9 of 16 for 127 passing yards and one interception. He also played a majority of the game in Week 17 against the New York Jets, finishing with a stat line of 18 of 35 for 232 passing yards and two interceptions.
The final game against the Jets should get a pass as the Bills already had a playoff spot locked up and he was essentially playing with all backups.
If the need were to arise for the Bills to turn to Barkley or Fromm, the coaching staff should have more confidence in Barkley considering he is a veteran, has roughly two years in this system, and has shown he can win. There is just too much risk keeping a fifth round rookie as the team’s primary backup for a franchise that has their window to win wide open.
The last time the Bills elected to go with a fifth-round rookie quarterback as their backup was Nathan Peterman, which was nothing short of a disaster.
Most NFL teams like to keep only two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster, and with the new rules under the CBA for roster sizes, that might change. However, for the Bills it makes sense to carry three quarterbacks for at least this season to provide a veteran fallback option if the need were to arise.