As the end of the NFL season draws near, the MVP discussion is ramping up in force. Nearly everyone agrees that Lamar Jackson, the breakout star of 2019 and the center of the 12-2 Baltimore Ravens, will win his first MVP award, and deservingly so. Russell Wilson out in Seattle is the consensus second pick to those same people.
Colin Cowherd disagrees. He argued on The Herd today that Wilson is the real MVP of the league this year, not Jackson :
The foundation of his argument is the same one that revolves around the MVP award in every sport-- Jackson has undoubtedly been the best player in the NFL this year, but Wilson is more valuable. In any other year, Wilson would run away with the award, regardless of the argument, but Jackson has just been that good.
So far this year, Wilson has thrown for 3,708 yards, 28 touchdowns, and five interceptions while completing 67 percent of his passes, along with 311 rushing yards and three more TDs. Jackson has thrown for 2,889 yards, 33 touchdowns, and six interceptions with a 66 percent completion rate, in addition to his 1,103 yards and seven TDs on the ground. Wilson has the edge in passing yards and (barely) completion percentage, while Jackson has more touchdown passes on a similar TD:INT ratio, along with the obvious disparity in rushing yards. Wilson's Seahawks sit at 11-3 and could end up a top-two seed in the NFC, while Jackson's Ravens are 12-2 and are almost guaranteed home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Cowherd's main argument is that Wilson is more irreplaceable because his supporting cast is significantly worse than Jackson's. He uses the Pro Bowl nominations as proof, which is far from bulletproof, but the point lands-- Jackson does indeed enjoy a dominant line and rushing attack to buoy the offense around him, while Wilson is usually running for his life and can't rely consistently on Chris Carson to take the load off. The theory is that if you replaced Wilson with a league-average QB like, say, Derek Carr, the Seahawks would struggle to make the playoffs, whereas the Ravens would still be a playoff team with Carr based off the strength of their other units.
Cowherd is probably right that Wilson is more valuable to the Seahawks than Jackson is to the Ravens. But Most Valuable Player has never meant most valuable by the dictionary definition. At the end of the day, it comes down to who the best player in the NFL has been, combined with team success. Jackson checks those boxes, and brings record-breaking performances and regular highlights to the table on top of all that. Jackson is the 2019 MVP, even if Wilson has been nearly good enough to match him.