2024 Comeback Player of the Year - NFL Futures Lines

2024 Comeback Player of the Year

All Aaron Rodgers will seemingly have to do to win the 2024 NFL Comeback Player of the Year is not get hurt. In his first game in a New York Jets uniform Rodgers was lost for the 2023 season after four snaps with an Achilles injury. The top four players on the NFL futures board are quarterbacks who had their 2023 campaign cut short due to injury, with Rodgers topping the list followed by Joe Burrow, Kirk Cousins and Anthony Richardson. Cousins is the only one of the quartet pitching for a new team as he ended up with the Atlanta Falcons.

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Coming in as the fifth favorite is another QB with the desire to prove he can still perform in the NFL at a high level. After two disastrous years in Denver, Russell Wilson signed with Pittsburgh getting a new lease on life. The Steelers said at the time Wilson will be the starter so he will have every opportunity to prove his career isn’t over. It’s also easy to see why QBs top the list since they have the most impact on a game. Joe Flacco won the award in 2023 by chance. He joined the Browns practice squad when Deshaun Watson was lost for the season and earned a start later when Dorian Thompson-Robinson was concussed. He went 4-1 in five late season starts helping the Browns reach the postseason.

Flacco played less than 30 percent of the Browns’ games proving you don’t have to be on the field a lot. But since QBs have the most direct route to results it makes sense that they dominate most of the awards, with the Comeback Player of the Year no exception. The previous six winners were all QB’s and that position has claimed 12 of the previous 16 CPOY awards. The non-QB with the shortest odds is Nick Chubb, who is one of only two non-QBs among the top 15 on the odds list.

2024 NFL Comeback Player of the Year Odds

Aaron Rodgers +125

Joe Burrow +200

Kirk Cousins +451

Anthony Richardson +576

Russell Wilson +1202

Nick Chubb +1502

Deshaun Watson +2003

Daniel Jones +2504

Justin Herbert +2203

Sam Darnold +3005

Kyler Murray +3100

Tank Dell +3500

Justin Fields +3506

Bryce Young +3500

Gardner Minshew +5008

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The Candidates

The comeback player award has routinely been handed out to players returning from significant injuries. From 2014 to 2018 each of the five winners sustained a season-ending injury the year before. Ryan Tannehill rebounded from a poor 2018 season to win the honor in 2019 ending the streak, though Alex Smith (2020) and Joe Burrow (2021) continued the trend.

I agree with oddsmakers positioning Rodgers as the favorite. All he has to do is stay healthy and there’s a good chance he stands out to the voters. He is also playing in the media capital of the world and if he can help the Jets end the longest current NFL playoff drought he’s a shoo-in. However, that’s not guaranteed and another player can easily put up better numbers with greater team success.

For guys like Justin Fields +3506 and Sam Darnold +3005 it’s just about getting a chance. Fields never seemed like a good fit in Chicago and the Bears jettisoned their former top pick for a chance at a generational talent in Caleb Williams. Fields isn’t expected to start with the Steelers but if Wilson continues his decline he’ll have a chance to prove he’s a NFLer. For Darnold, the former No. 3 overall pick, his career has come full circle. A starter with his original team the Jets, inconsistent play relegated him to a backup. Now with his fourth team since being selected in the 2018 draft, Darnold has a chance to start with the Vikings after just seven games the previous two seasons.

Burrow had two spectacular seasons sandwiched between his injury plagued campaigns. In 2021 he led the NFL with a 70.4 completion percentage guiding the Bengals to their first Super Bowl since 1988. In 2022 he threw for nearly 4,500 yards and 35 touchdowns as the Bengals reached the AFC Championship game. He’s already won the award once (2021), which could be a detractor if numbers are close.

With the help of Nick Chubb the Browns were known to run the football, a rarity in what’s become a pass-happy league. And because of that the role of a running back has been nearly eliminated. Chubb had four straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons with a career-bestr 1,525 yards in 2022. In Week 2 of the 2023 season, Chubb suffered a season-ending knee injury. Should he return to past form there’s a good chance Chubb ends the streak of QB wins.

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