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Springtime on the NFL calendar brings the start of free agency, the NFL Draft, and a prime opportunity to dissect the player award futures for the upcoming season. Ten teams, including the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, have already inked more than $100 million worth of contracts since the new league year and free agent period began on March 15.
The top spot in the 2023 Draft now belongs to Carolina. The Panthers and new head coach Frank Reich traded two first-round picks, two second-rounders, and wide receiver DJ Moore to Chicago for the right to select first on April 27. EWB did a piece on the 2023 NFL Draft that will be updated again before late April’s big event.
The buzz around the free agency period is palpable, but players who change their surroundings do not typically impact the MVP conversation. While it’s rare for an MVP to have signed with their team in the previous off-season, it has happened.
The famous story of Kurt Warner’s leap to stardom from NFL Europe to the Rams in 1999 ended with the Hall of Famer being named MVP and leading LA to a Super Bowl victory over Tennessee. More recent free agent signees to win MVP include Drew Brees and Peyton Manning, although they didn’t achieve that feat in the first year with their new team.
We’ll preview the front-runners for 2023’s top award, and some potential long shots as the NFL resumes its domination of the sports headlines.
Latest Odds from FanDuel SportsBook
Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes won his second MVP award in five seasons for a Chiefs unit that went on to win the Super Bowl over the Philadelphia Eagles. He received 48 of 50 first-place votes, with Eagles’ quarterback Jalen Hurts, the runner-up, and Buffalo’s Josh Allen each receiving one.
Mahomes led the NFL in passing yards, touchdowns, and total QBR while starting 17 games for the top seed in the AFC. He was selected to a fifth-straight Pro Bowl and named a first-team All-Pro for the second time in his career.
Hurts was a legitimate candidate to win his first league MVP award before sustaining an injury in December that held him out of two games. He passed for over 3,700 yards and 22 touchdowns while rushing for more than 700 yards and scoring 13 touchdowns on the ground. In doing so, Hurts became only the fourth quarterback in NFL history to throw for 20+ touchdowns and run for at least ten scores.
Allen and Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow both threw for 4,200+ yards and scored 40 or more total touchdowns to finish third and fourth, respectively. Burrow’s Bengals eliminated Allen’s Bills in the Divisional round of the AFC playoffs before falling to the Chiefs in the conference title game.
Those four quarterbacks are joined by LA Chargers’ signal-caller Justin Herbert atop the early MVP odds for the upcoming season. Quarterbacks have won the last 10 MVPs and 17 of the last 20, dating back to the late, great Steve McNair’s win in 2003. So it is no surprise that the top 25 or so names are QBs, according to oddsmakers.
Former MVPs Lamar Jackson and Aaron Rodgers also find themselves near the top of the sheet. However, neither player has solidified where they’ll be playing football in 2023, so that is something to monitor as spring turns to summer and training camps open. Jackson has missed ten games since the start of the 2021 season and is working on his contract situation in Baltimore after being franchise-tagged in early March.
As for Rodgers, he’s declared that he’ll play for the New York Jets in 2023 but is still under contract with Green Bay and needs the two teams to agree to terms before he can hit the road. New York signed former Packers’ receiver Allen Lazard in free agency in a move that signals their interest in Rodgers being comfortable with his new surroundings.
Trevor Lawrence, Tua Tagovailoa, and Dak Prescott round out the top ten for the best odds of winning MVP this season. Lawrence was named to his first Pro Bowl last season after leading Jacksonville to an AFC South Division title, and Tagovailoa set career highs in passing yards and touchdowns while dealing with multiple injuries.
Prescott struggled at times last year and threw 15 interceptions, the most in the NFL. He’s entering the third season of a lucrative four-year contract with the Cowboys that will see him make $31 million.
Running backs make up the three non-QBs to win this award since 2003. Adrian Peterson won in 2012, while Shaun Alexander and LaDainian Tomlinson won back-to-back from 2005-06, respectively. The top skill-position players in the early MVP race include names like Justin Jefferson, Cooper Kupp, Jonathan Taylor, Christian McCaffrey, Ja’Marr Chase, and Tyreek Hill.
Jefferson and Kupp have won the last two Offensive Player of the Year awards with record-setting seasons at the receiver positions. McCaffrey and Hill thrived with new teams in 2022, while Chase and Taylor fought the injury bug throughout last season. No wide receiver has won the MVP award in the history of the NFL.
On the defensive side, two-time All-Pro Micah Parsons leads a small group of pass rushers with preseason MVP odds. 2022 Defensive Player of the Year Nick Bosa and three-time All-Pro TJ Watt also have slim chances of becoming the first defensive player since Lawrence Taylor to win MVP. Only Vikings’ legend Alan Page can claim that same distinction as Taylor, accomplishing the feat in 1971 for the first time in league history.
It may be early, but we've already isolated 3 players that we want to add to our NFL MVP portfolio for next season. We've selected one favorite, one mid-range bet, and one longshot bet below.
With Mahomes winning the award again in 2022, we believe he’ll need to post even more historic numbers to repeat this season based on voter bias. Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning are the only players to win consecutive MVPs in the last 25 seasons.
Burrow and Allen must stay healthy, lead their teams to winning seasons, and at least keep pace with Mahomes statistically to give themselves a chance. We expect Burrow to do so more consistently with his style of play and leverage the favor he’s won with the writers after two deep playoff runs.
Jackson’s injuries and contract dispute have caused some fans to forget what an incredibly talented player he is. He was the unanimous MVP of the league in 2019 while playing 15 games.
If he can work out his contract situation with Baltimore and limit the number of games he misses this season, Jackson will have a reasonable chance to add another MVP trophy to his shelf.
Our flyer play on Parsons stems from his stellar play and public notoriety. Parsons is tied for 10th in NFL history in sacks through a player’s age-23 season, and five players ahead of him on the list had played a third season by that point. In addition, he’s one of 37 players to achieve first-team All-Pro selections in each of their first two seasons in NFL history.
Parsons is the face of the Dallas franchise, the most prominent team in the sport, and we’re confident that he’s among the best candidates to win the award outside of the quarterbacks. At these odds, the Penn State product is worth a sprinkle.
Did you know that the NFL MVP award has been handed out almost every year since 1938? For the answers to more intriguing questions, check out the following FAQ section about the NFL MVP. It's one of the most prestigious awards in all of sports.
Mel Hein was an American football player who played center for the New York Giants from 1931 to 1945. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest centers in NFL history and was the first player in NFL history to win the league's MVP award in 1938. Hein was also a nine-time Pro Bowl selection and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963.
The NFL player who has won the most MVP (Most Valuable Player) awards is Peyton Manning. He won the award a total of five times during his career, in 2003, 2004, 2008, 2009, and 2013.
There are multiple NFL MVP (Most Valuable Player) awards given each year because different organizations and publications have their own versions of the award. The most prestigious and widely recognized NFL MVP award is the one given by the Associated Press (AP), which is voted on by a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters at the end of the regular season. However, there are also other MVP awards given out by organizations such as the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA), the Sporting News, and the Maxwell Football Club. While the criteria for each award may vary slightly, they all recognize the best player in the NFL for that particular season.
Quarterbacks have won the NFL MVP (Most Valuable Player) award more times than any other position, and it is not even close. As of the end of the 2021 NFL season, quarterbacks have won the award 45 times, with running backs coming in a distant second with just 20 wins. Wide receivers, linebackers, and defensive tackles are the only other positions to have won the award more than once, with two wins apiece.
Winning the NFL MVP (Most Valuable Player) award does not come with a specific bonus from the NFL, as the award is given out by the Associated Press (AP) and other organizations rather than the league itself. However, many players have bonuses built into their contracts that are triggered by winning individual awards such as the MVP. These bonuses vary depending on the player and the specifics of their contract, but they can be significant amounts of money. For example, some contracts might offer a bonus of a few hundred thousand dollars for winning the MVP, while others might offer several million dollars.