Lamar Jackson announced he will be on the cover of Madden 21, curses be damned. It's a fine choice. The guy put up absurd numbers, is arguably the most fun player to watch in all the game, and won an MVP. Plus, he's someone we're likely to look back on in 12 or 15 years and wonder what the hell ever happened -- though no one can predict the future with absolute certainty.
Considering those same general qualifications, it might be fun to explore which star could find himself on the cover of next year's game. And if not fun, it certainly won't hurt anyone so let's take a hypothetical stroll.
Thomas has the opportunity to lead the NFL in catches for the third consecutive season and yardage for the second. He's still on the ascent of his prime and plays for a team that will compete for something meaningful. Since 2010, a wide receiver has never been off the cover for more than a three-year span.
Who knows how quickly the rebuilding project will yield positive results in Cincinnati. But one has to figure that a competent season puts him in the running for honors next year. Given that his health and starting role is firmer than Tua Tagovailoa's, it's more likely that Burrow will be the second-year quarterback with the biggest buzz next offseason.
Jacobs had a breakout year in his rookie campaign and will improve on his numbers out in Las Vegas. There has not been a running back featured since Barry Sanders and Adrian Peterson in 2013. Before that it was Peyton Hillis. Remember him?
Again, operating under the assumption a running back will return to glory, why not the biggest name for the sexiest market (maybe)? Terrell Owens was on the Hall-of-Fame edition last year. Before that, one would need to go back to 1994 when Erik Williams of all people was in the background behind John Madden.
Let's not overthink it. Madden likes to keep things fresh, but there are different rules for different folks. Even though Brady was on the cover in 2018, this time he'd be in those Buccaneers uniforms.
Other possibilities: Kyler Murray, Tua Tagovailoa, Nick Bosa, Saquon Barkley, Russell Wilson, The Guy You Think It Will Be Because You're Smarter Than Me