Josh Allen made clear during the 2020 season just how important he is to the Bills, mounting an MVP campaign and reaching heights no other passer in Buffalo history ever did.
Because of that, it’s also very obvious that the Bills can’t afford an injury to Allen. No longer is he an inconsistent, raw passer. Instead, he’s a polished superstar attempting to lead Buffalo to the Super Bowl. There’s a big drop-off between that and the Bills’ backup quarterbacks.
Here’s what you need to know about the players backing up Allen and how they might perform if pressed into duty.
Who is the Bills’ backup quarterback?
The Bills’ backup quarterback is Matt Barkley.
Barkley played his college football at USC and was drafted in the fourth round in 2013 by the Philadelphia Eagles. He never started a game in Philly before moving on to the Bears, where he went 1-5 as a starter in 2016. Barkey’s only other NFL start came in 2018 for the Bills, a win in Week 10 against the Jets in which Barkley threw for 232 yards and two touchdowns.
The 6-2, 30-year old Barkley attempted 21 passes in the 2020 season behind Allen, completing 11 for 197 yards and a touchdown while also being intercepted once.
Bills QB depth chart
Allen set a number of franchise quarterback records for the Bills in 2020. He finished the regular season with 4,544 passing yards and 37 touchdowns through the air, adding 421 rushing yards and eight scores on the ground.
The Bills took Allen with the seventh overall pick in 2018 out of Wyoming, the third of five quarterbacks taken in that year’s first round (after Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold, before Josh Rosen and Lamar Jackson). He raised his completion percentage by more than 10 percentage points from 2019 to 2020, becoming one of the top QBs in the league with new teammate Stefon Diggs becoming the league’s leading receiver.
Barkley’s most recent game action came in Week 17 of the 2020 regular season. Allen went to the bench early with the Bills up big on the Dolphins. Barkley completed 6-of-13 passes for 164 yards, a touchdown and an interception. That included a 56-yard touchdown pass to Gabriel Davis.
Fromm has been one of the few NFL quarterbacks to be in total isolation from the rest of his depth chart for the entirety of the season as a precaution due to COVID-19. If the other quarterbacks were exposed to COVID-19 while with each other, Fromm would still be available to play for the Bills.
Because of that, it’s not been a usual rookie season for Fromm, a fifth-rounder out of Georgia. He’s yet to play a snap in an NFL game. As a junior at Georgia in 2019, Fromm threw for 2,860 yards and 24 touchdowns.
Webb has been with the Bills’ organization since Sept. 2019, almost exclusively on Buffalo’s practice squad. Webb, who played college football first at Texas Tech and then at Cal, was a third-round pick by the Giants in 2017.
Despite Webb’s pedigree, he’s never thrown a pass in an NFL regular season or playoff game. He threw for 4,295 yards and 37 touchdowns in his final college season with the Golden Bears.