Which five quarterbacks could end up winning NFL MVP in the next few years?
For the foreseeable future, the NFL will remain a quarterback-driven league.
There was a time where defense wins championships and having a bell-cow back to carry the burden offensively was the recipe to bring a Lombardi Trophy back home. While that recipe can still work, it’s pretty hard to win a Super Bowl when a team is at a quarterbacking disadvantage. Even quarterbacks like Joe Flacco and Nick Foles had to play at elite levels to help their teams win.
Though it’s not a guarantee, usually the team with the best quarterback in a given year has a tremendous shot of winning a Super Bowl. Finishing with a top-two seed in one’s respective conference is probably the better indicator of that. Let’s just look at the last five quarterbacks to win NFL MVP and see where that takes us.
Cam Newton led the Carolina Panthers to Super Bowl 50 in 2015. Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons nearly won Super Bowl LI in 2016. Tom Brady won his third MVP in 2017 with the New England Patriots, playing in Super Bowl LII. Patrick Mahomes reached the AFC Championship game in 2018 season. Lamar Jackson’s Baltimore Ravens had the top-seed in the AFC last year.
So if we remove the five most recent NFL MVP quarterbacks from the equation, which other five starters in the league could earn the honor in the next few years? We’re not going to count rookies like Joe Burrow of the Cincinnati Bengals, Tua Tagovailoa of the Miami Dolphins and Justin Herbert of the Los Angeles Chargers because we’ve got to see them play an NFL snap first. Who will it be?
Here are five quarterbacks who could win NFL MVP in the next few seasons.
Playing quarterback for Kyle Shanahan certainly has its benefits.
This might sound crazy, but hear me out. Even though San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is maybe the 12th best quarterback in football on a given Sunday, he does have several things working for him in a potential NFL MVP quest a few years down the line. He starts for a contending team, he has John Lynch as general manager and his head coach is Kyle Shanahan.
Though the 49ers may not win the NFC again in 2020, their Super Bowl window is open for at least the next two years or so. The defense is fantastic and the offense massively overachieved last year, given its middle-of-the-pack personnel. Garoppolo not only has arguably the best tight end in football in his prime in George Kittle, but the Shanahan zone blocking scheme is his friend.
Every quarterback gets better by working with Shanahan. Ryan is a great player in his own right, but he did win NFL MVP in 2016 when they were working together with the Falcons. Having a dominating running game thanks to the ZBS will help give Garoppolo more wide-open throwing lanes to rifle balls in. Maybe he’ll grow from overshooting Emmanuel Sanders down in Miami?
Lastly, Lynch clearly knows what he’s doing. While the Solomon Thomas top-three pick wasn’t great, you can’t blame a Stanford guy for drafting one of his own in his first draft. Regardless, he’s built a championship-caliber team on defense. Garoppolo may not put up record-setting numbers in a potential MVP campaign, but we certainly haven’t seen the best of him in his NFL career yet.