The NFL MVP award is the highest individual honor handed out each season. It is voted on by many of the top media members who cover the league, choosing the one player who was most valuable to their team's overall success in a particular season. While it can go to a player in any position, it has been dominated by quarterbacks, especially in the last decade-plus.
Each new season brings a different set of contenders for the MVP award. While the 2023 season will feature some heavy favorites, such as Patrick Mahomes and Joe Burrow, several other players have a legitimate chance to win the award. Here are three sleepers who could win MVP in 2023 who may not immediately come to mind when previewing the upcoming season.
#1, Tua Tagovailoa
Tua Tagovailoa was excellent during the 2022 NFL season when he was healthy. He threw for eight touchdowns in his first three games before being knocked out in Week 4. When he returned three weeks later, he went on a five-game winning streak with 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions, entering the NFL MVP race.
The Miami Dolphins offense is loaded with weapons, including Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle, one of the best wide receiver tandems in the league. If Tagovailoa can avoid injury and remain on the field in 2023, he's already shown he can fill up the stat sheet, while his offense remains complete with one of the best sets of weapons in the league. He can clearly compete for the NFL MVP award.
#2, Russell Wilson
Russell Wilson endured a disastrous 2022 NFL season in his first year with the Denver Broncos following a decade with the Seattle Seahawks. He had the worst statistical performance in just about every passing category for any year of his entire career. While this is surely alarming, he will get a major upgrade to his coaching staff in 2023.
Sean Payton took over as the Broncos' new head coach during the offseason, replacing Nathaniel Hackett. Payton has built a reputation for being one of the NFL's most brilliant offensive minds.
Many teams were interested in Payton, but he chose to join Wilson on the Broncos. This could mean he still sees an elite quarterback, despite the intense 2022 regression. A huge bounce back could be on the way if he's right. Wilson is a dark horse to be in the running forhis first NFL MVP award.
#3, Trevor Lawrence
Trevor Lawrence was one of the highest-rated quarterback prospects of all time entering the 2021 NFL draft. He was understandably selected with the first pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars. His rookie season failed to meet his spectacular expectations, but some of that can be credited to their disastrous experiment with Urban Meyer as their coach.
Lawrence improved in every way during his second year and also in his first year with new coach Doug Pederson. The Jaguars went from being the worst team in the league the year before to making the NFL playoffs and winning a postseason game.
One of the biggest reasons for the Jaguars' turnaround was Lawrence's incredible play in the second half of the season. He was one of the best quarterbacks in the league over his final games, recording a 7-2 record. If he continues to play that way during the 2023 season, he will be in the mix to be named the NFL's MVP.