Colin Cowherd returned from his medical hiatus a few weeks ago and has not missed a beat. Today, he got the people riled up by breaking out his Value Tiers table in juxtaposition with the most recent Dak Prescott report suggesting the Cowboys quarterback would like to be paid close to what Patrick Mahomes is currently making in Kansas City.
Cowherd put only four quarterbacks in the top tier of his value chart: Russell Wilson, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Josh Allen. Mahomes was slotted into the second tier alongside Deshaun Watson, Lamar Jackson, and (surprisingly) Jimmy Garoppolo. Dak Prescott wasn't on the list.
Cowherd's decision-making here is based on a basic principle, one that has ruled all MVP discussions across sports for years: where would the player's team be if not for the player?
Cowherd justifies putting Mahomes in the second tier because, while he is undoubtedly the most talented quarterback in the game, Andy Reid won 13 playoff games without Mahomes on the roster. He's a great coach who can bring the best out of his players and win a lot of football games, even if he needed Mahomes to finally reach the pinnacle of a Super Bowl championship.
By contrast, lord only knows what would happen to Seattle and Pete Carroll's run-first offense without the wizardry of Wilson behind the porous offensive line. We already know what the Bucs look like with Brady back there and all else equal (7-9 record and no playoff appearance). There is a logic to this.
Ultimately, I'd say whether or not you agree with Cowherd depends on how much of a gap you believe exists between quarterbacks who have proven they have won Super Bowls and quarterbacks who look good enough to do so but haven't gotten the chance yet. By Cowherd's metrics, Josh Allen is more valuable than Mahomes because the Bills definitely would not have made the AFC Championship Game without his big arm powering the offense and probably wouldn't have even made the postseason. But Mahomes has proven he can win the Big Game. Isn't that inherently more valuable than a player looking like he could win a ring if given the opportunity, regardless of circumstance?
Frankly, Cowherd including Jimmy G on this graphic at all is more surprising than where he puts Mahomes. I can understand the argument for putting Mahomes where he is because the team around him is good enough to justify the opinion, even if I don't necessarily agree. But Garoppolo? Cowherd points out that Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan has won only 25 percent of his games as head coach without Garoppolo under center. That is certainly true, but last season the Niners went 6-10 because Garoppolo and George Kittle and Nick Bosa got hurt. Nobody is going to win many games if their three most important players miss most or all of the season. San Francisco probably would have won one, maybe two more games with Jimmy G if everyone else got hurt as they did.
Regardless. Cowherd has gotten 450ish words out of me on his Value Tiers. That's enough for now.