Here's Why I'm Fading Russell Wilson as an MVP Candidate

Russell Wilson needs to improve on last season's rough finish.
Russell Wilson needs to improve on last season's rough finish. / Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Remember when Russell Wilson was the MVP frontrunner and the whole league was behind the “Let Russ Cook” mantra during the first half of the 2020 season?

Those were fun times, but Wilson faded during the second half of the season and went another year without receiving an MVP vote. 

Now, Seattle has a new offensive coordinator in Shane Waldron, but I don’t expect Waldron’s offense to improve Wilson’s MVP chances, as he currently sits at +1800 odds at WynnBET.

Look, Russ is easily one of the NFL’s 10-best quarterbacks, but with Pete Carroll’s desire to have a more run-heavy scheme in 2021, I don’t think Wilson will get the opportunity to put up the gaudy numbers that we usually see from MVP candidates. 

"We have to run the ball better,” Carrol said following the 2020 season. “Not even run the ball better, run it more.”

Seattle Seahawks fans are going to hate that, but if you look at what happened in the 2020 season, Carroll is right. Wilson averaged 317.6 passing yards per game through Seattle’s first eight matchups last season, and he threw for 28 touchdowns to just eight interceptions in the process. 

However, the wheels fell off with Seattle facing more two-deep looks to limit the passing attack in the second half of the season. Part of that came because of injuries at the running back position to Chris Carson and eventually Carlos Hyde, but Wilson himself was not the same player. 

Over the final eight games of the 2020 campaign, Wilson threw for just 1,671 yards (208.9 per game), 12 touchdowns and five interceptions. Those numbers aren’t going to get you anywhere near the MVP conversation. 

Seattle won the NFC West last season, going 12-4, but it has a lot more competition in 2021 with Matthew Stafford in Los Angeles and the San Francisco 49ers getting several players back from injury. 

WynnBET currently has Seattle in third in the odds to win the division at +260, which also would hurt Wilson’s chances of taking home the MVP. 

The last eight MVP award winners have been quarterbacks, and seven of those eight times the quarterback led his team to at least the Conference Championship Game (only Lamar Jackson in 2019 did not complete this feat), with five of them making an appearance in the Super Bowl. 

Wilson is going to need a combination of big numbers and a successful team, and after watching him struggle to maintain an MVP-level for the entire season in 2020, I’m not confident that he can do it in a new offense with a renewed focus on the running game. 

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