Will Someone Other Than A Quarterback Win MVP This Season?

Saquon Barkley

When it comes to betting on who will be the MVP of the 2019 NFL Season, the smart money is on one position—quarterback. Of course, the hard part is figuring out which one. Last season it was Patrick Mahomes, and before him, it was Tom Brady, Matt Ryan, Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers, and Peyton Manning.

Saquon Barkley

Saquon Barkley | Arturo Holmes / Shutterstock.com

The last six NFL MVPs were quarterbacks, and, in fact, during this millennium there have only been four seasons where a quarterback did not win the award (2000-Marshall Faulk; 2005—Shaun Alexander; 2006—LaDainian Tomlinson; and 2012—Adrian Peterson).

There have been some great running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, and even offensive linemen in the conversation every year for MVP. Most of them are considered irrelevant by the end of the season, but they are in the conversation.  This season will likely be no different.

But is there one that can break the stranglehold quarterbacks seem to have on the award?

The Candidates

According to the odds that 888sport.com has posted, there are 14 quarterbacks listed with odds better than the first non-quarterback given odds. Odds on the non-quarterbacks listed are as follows:

  • Todd Gurley +3300
  • Saquon Barkley, Le’Veon Bell, Ezekiel Elliot, Christian McCaffrey +4000
  • Alvin Kamara +5000
  • Aaron Donald, Khalil Mack +6600
  • David Johnson +8000
  • Odell Beckham Jr., Antonio Brown, James Conner, Derrick Henry, DeAndre Hopkins, Julio Jones, J.J. Watt +10000
  • Joshua Jacobs, Von Miller +15000
  • Adam Thielen, Joey Bosa, Julian Edelman, Quinnen Williams +25000

Throughout the list most of the other quarterbacks in the league also have odds. As silly as the notion may be that Josh Rosen is going to start in Miami, he has odds (+10000; the same as Ryan Fitzpatrick). It may sound ridiculous, but the NFL is a quarterback’s league.

If an offence blows up and a team wins a lot of games, the first person given credit is almost always the quarterback. It may be unfair to all the other guys who worked just as hard and made significant contributions to their team’s success. But historically, that is just how it has gone.

So—who is going to win?

The Prediction

There have only been two defensive players that have ever been named MVP—Lawrence Taylor (1986) and Alan Page (1971). While Aaron Donald, Khalil Mack, Von Miller, J.J. Watt, Joey Bosa, and Quinnen Williams are all great players, they are no Lawrence Taylors. They will each make a significant impact for their team in 2019, but good enough to win MVP honors? Not a chance.

If a wide receiver were to have a significant enough season to contend for MVP, the voters would be more likely to credit his quarterback than him. As great as Antonio Brown has been in the past for the Steelers, he was never a serious candidate. Chances are good none of this year’s crop will have a shot, either.

That leaves the running backs—but which one?

MVPs come off teams that play well and win a lot of games. But it is hard to see the Cardinals, Giants, Panthers, Titans, or Raiders having the kind of season it would take for David Johnson, Saquon Barkley, Christian McCaffrey, Derrick Henry, or Joshua Jacobs to be considered serious candidates.

If the Steelers win, Ben Roethlisberger is going to get most of the credit which leaves James Conner out in the cold. It is kind of hard to believe Todd Gurley is up to the task after all the issue he had with his knee during the playoffs.

For a running back to win, the offence is going to have to be dependent on the run game. That is not to say they lack in the passing game; just that the offence is more likely to set up the passing game by running the ball than the other way around.

The Cowboys certainly qualify as such a team. It is hard to say if the Jets will since Le’Veon Bell has yet to suit up for them. But he is capable of making a significant impact in the passing game which benefits his candidacy. The same could be said for Alvin Kamara and his place with the New Orleans Saints.

Of the three, the most likely to win it has to be Elliot. Everyone knows he is going to get the ball at least 20 times a game (either in carries or receptions). They know he is coming, and yet, he is rarely (if ever) stopped.

He definitely helps Dak Prescott out more than Prescott, and the passing game helps him. So, should the Cowboys have a dominant season, Elliot will get the credit over Prescott (this time).

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Score: 90/100