Call it optimistic, but thinking about Trey Lance as the NFL MVP in his first year as the 49ers starter isn’t too far-fetched.
Probably the safest and most reasonable analysis of what the San Francisco 49ers are going to get out of their top investment from the 2021 NFL Draft, quarterback Trey Lance, heading into 2022 is a simple, “we don’t know.”
No, we don’t know. No one does.
But that’s not very fun to talk about. It doesn’t involve any predictions, ceilings or floors. And with Lance poised to be a first-year full-time starter this season, you’ve likely heard no shortage of reasons why he can or can’t fill the role.
While at least matching the signal-caller he’s trying to replace, Jimmy Garoppolo, would be a good sign of efforts this season, let’s go bold with Trey Lance and speculate why he might actually be the league’s MVP in 2022.
Yes, that bold.
Trey Lance a dark-horse MVP candidate
Alright, so anyone who has paid attention to the NFL the last decade-plus knows the annual MVP honor pretty much just means the league’s best quarterback, and for the past two seasons, that accolade has gone to the Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers.
Rodgers is just one of many elite-level quarterbacks vying for the honor, so automatically, we’ll assume Lance has no chance, right? Seriously, with others like the Buffalo Bills’ Josh Allen, the Los Angeles Chargers’ Justin Herbert, the Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes and the Cincinnati Bengals’ Joe Burrow in play, among many others, Lance is surely the outlier.
However, let’s keep a few things in mind here.
Prior to Rodgers’ last two MVPs, the previous two award winners were Mahomes in 2018 and Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson in 2019, both players entering their second season in the NFL.
Just like Lance.
That’s kind of a weak comparison, of course, but it’s safe to point out Mahomes didn’t exactly start his rookie year either, just like Lance, but went on to tear the entire league to shreds during the KC quarterback’s memorable 2018 campaign that included over 5,000 yards passing and 50 touchdowns.
"He’ll have George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and the league’s fourth-best rushing offense by DVOA to help the transition.Mahomes threw for 896 yards and 13 touchdowns across his first three games in 2018 and never looked back. Lance is a different sort of player, but would it really be a surprise if he took the league by storm?"
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Trey Lance still has long odds to earn NFL MVP… but reasonable ones
According to WynnBET, Allen is the favorite to receive MVP honors this season at +600, while Mahomes and Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady are tied for second-best odds at +800.
Way down the list at No. 14 on this list is Lance at +3500.
Yes, those are pretty long odds. But, circling back to Mahomes in 2018, he had entered many a sportsbook with odds even greater than that.
Of course, for any of this to happen, Lance would have to completely shred the league in his first full year as a starter, which would be a dream scenario for San Francisco after giving up so much capital to draft him a little over a year ago.
If it works out, however, no 49ers fan will complain about the expensive cost, especially if there’s MVP discussions involved.