Recently, it was announced that New England Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady was the 2017 NFL's Most Valuable Player. In this article, delivered exclusively on the 49ers Webzone, I'll attempt to make a compelling and objective argument as to why Jimmy Garoppolo will be the favorite to become the NFL's 2018 MVP.
Now before becoming an NFL MVP, you have to be under contract with an NFL team. And that's something the San Francisco 49ers, led by General Manager John Lynch, are working diligently to get done with pending free agent Jimmy Garoppolo and his agent, Don Yee in the next coming days (per NFL Network's Ian Rapport).
Five Reasons Why Jimmy Garoppolo Will Be the Favorite to Become the NFL's 2018 MVP
1) Momentum is in his favor - Garoppolo (seven total wins, five as a 49er) is undefeated as a starter. He took over a team that had won just one out of their last eleven games. The 49ers were the only undefeated NFL team in the month of December and the only team to put up 40-plus points in the regular season against the NFL's top-rated and most notarized defense, at the time, the Jacksonville Jaguars. Box check here.
2) The division is up for grabs - Winning your division (in 2018) after finishing dead last in 2017, increases your chances of winning the MVP. The NFC West, as it stands right now, is wide open.
- How so? The Seattle Seahawks, who have been a nemesis and thorn in the 49ers' side for years, are no longer indestructible. The 49ers lost two (Week 2 loss 12-9, Week 12 loss 24-13) highly competitive and winnable games without the services of Jimmy Garoppolo.
- The Seahawks fired both offensive and defensive coordinators; Darrell Bevell and Kris Richard, respectfully. Bevell was replaced by a struggling defensive coordinator (formerly of the Oakland Raiders) in Ken Norton Jr. whose defensive units finished 22nd, 26th, and 23rd over the last three years in total defense.
- The Seahawks are still searching for a featured running back (not named Russell Wilson) and an offensive line that can protect their franchise quarterback. The Seahawks have major/career threatening injuries to key positions on the defense (cornerback Richard Sherman, safety Kam Chancellor, edge rusher Cliff Avril), and contract disputes (see safety Earl Thomas and Michael Bennett).
- The Arizona Cardinals recently hired a defensive minded rookie head coach (formerly of the Carolina Panthers) in Steve Wilks. The Cardinals pick 15th in the 2018 NFL draft and have an offensive line that's in flux.
- The Cardinals are without a franchise quarterback at the moment and future Hall of Fame wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is contemplating his NFL future.
- The Los Angeles Rams will have some key decisions to make on pending free agents; wide receiver Sammy Watkins, center John Sullivan, cornerback's Trumaine Johnson, Nickell Robey-Coleman and free safety LaMarcus Joyner.
- And based on the head-to-head matchups (Week 3 loss 41-39, Week 17 win 43-13) by both teams in 2017, the 49ers should feel very comfortable in 2018 taking down the division champs. Box check here.
3) He'll put up MVP-like numbers- - Recapping Garoppolo's 2017 statistics, in six games (five being starts), he totaled 1,560 passing yards, seven touchdowns and against five interceptions. Garoppolo completed 67.4% of his passes with a quarterback rating of 96.2 and a total quarterback rating of 78.2.
- Garoppolo ended the season with an overall Pro Football Focus grade of 85.2 which measured up to top-10 level amongst the NFL's elite quarterbacks. This is based on the forecasting trend of 260 passing yards per game by Garoppolo in 2017, which was (in a snapshot) comparable to MVP candidate and Philadelphia Eagles' franchise quarterback Carson Wentz's 253.5 passing yards per game.
- What Garoppolo's 2018 projected statistics could potentially look like: 4,160 yards passing (only eight quarterbacks threw for over 4,000 yards in 2017), 27 touchdowns against 10 interceptions (gunslinger mentality) with a completion percentage of 65. Box check here.
4) He's already an MVP by definition - Who's the most valuable player on the 49ers' team? Who makes everyone around him better? Who's displayed exceptional leadership skills in crunch time situations? Who's performed the best with less? Who's galvanized and brought hope to a franchise, and fan base? I think you know the answer but I'll write it anyway. Jimmy Garoppolo. Box check here.
Fans perspective: Who (speculation of course) had the division champs (L.A Rams) sit their starters in Week 17 because they didn't want to face a red-hot 49ers' team (lose their confidence going into the playoffs) led by who? Jimmy Garoppolo.
5) Tom Brady (2.0) - Brady won the MVP at 40 years old, the third of his career. Outside of Brady's fiery passion that's on display often there are not many quarterbacks in the NFL that are carbon copies of his skill set, mannerisms, charm, style of play, handsome looks and calm, cool and collected demeanor on the field and off.
- And who has a cool nickname that can compete against the likes of "Tom Terrific?"
- There's a quarterback in Santa Clara that fits the bill almost to a tee. Maybe you've heard of him? He's known by his own cool nickname Jimmy G or Jimmy GQ per say. Likeability and comparisons to Brady are all in Jimmy Garoppolo's favor to win MVP and can't be underestimated nor taken lightly. Box check here.
Closing thoughts on Jimmy G becoming the 2018 MVP
A quarterback has won MVP honors 10 out of the last 11 years. Running back Adrian Peterson won it in 2012, and it took 2,000-plus yards on the ground and over 2,300 yards from scrimmage to capture the award.
Looking at Jimmy G's MVP competition at a glance; Wentz is recovering from a major knee injury, Brady will be 41 years old, and some voters might be ready for a new QB on the rise. Atlanta Falcons' quarterback Matt Ryan is still recovering from the loss of Kyle Shanahan as his offensive coordinator. Aaron Rogers is recovering from his second collarbone surgery in the last few years and Jarred Goff deserves an honorable mention, but at this stage in his young career, isn't as polished an NFL quarterback as Jimmy G.
Recent Niners Live article alerts: Why the NFC West Division is there for 49ers' taking and Top Three running backs the 49ers should target, in free agency, from a different perspective, of course.
With a full offseason under Jimmy G's belt to grasp the entire playbook and work on scoring more touchdowns (part of the 27 projected touchdowns) in the red zone, Garoppolo can be an MVP player. He'll also work on better timing/chemistry with his carryover of weapons such as Kyle Juszczyk, George Kittle, Garret Celek, Kendrick Bourne, the return of Pierre Garcon, Marquise Goodwin, and Trent Taylor. And last, but not least, with additional weapons and improved protection along the interior offensive line via free agency and the NFL draft, Jimmy G will be poised to become the 2018 MVP.
Sequoia Sims: Founder of Niners Live, Content Creator, player breakdown specialist, and Senior Author. The home of the faithful fan and analyst from an objective/analytical lens, and different perspective, of course.