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NFL Offseason Part 2: Season Awards

We are less than 100 days away from the start of the 2024-25 NFL season and with Part 1 of my offseason review predicting team's records and playoff games, ( we'll now look toward individual success for the upcoming season.

Season awards are a point of contention for NFL players, media personnel and fans alike throughout every season. It's the truest mark of accomplishment for almost every player besides a Lombardi Trophy. It will also spawn arguments of the best in the world and carry a lot of weight toward salary negotiation in the future for the players.

Each award prediction is based off of my team prediction and obviously the players' performances in recent memories. Another factor to consider is voter fatigue and superstar treatment. When a certain player has been voted for an award multiple times in recent memory, there tends to be a reluctancy to vote them again, instead favoring a new and emerging superstar for said award. Whereas a player who has become more and more present in media and continues spectacular performances will be given a boost as to integrate them into the "fraternity of the media darlings", (which is just a fancy way to say the media will sometimes hand pick certain players to try and boost their media presence to sell more tickets and jerseys, often to teams who do not have a superstar already to spike interest in that team's fan base.

An example of both of these phenomenon's are Patrick Mahomes and C.J. Stroud. Mahomes has won 2 MVP's and been towards the top of the voting every season and while he is still the face of the NFL, fans and media will start to favor other players more and more. Not to say he can't win this award again as it's almost certain he'll win it at least once more in his career, but as we saw with Tom Brady towards the end of his career, even though he had the stats, people wanted to see new and younger winners of the award. On the other hand, an emerging superstar like C.J. Stroud could win potential awards even if his stats are not up to the level of his competitors based off of his media presence and overall superstar potential in a would-be great market in Houston.

Okay enough technical talk and prerequisites, let's get into my picks for the NFL 2024-25 Season Award Winners.

MVP Brock Purdy QB San Francisco 49ers

runner-up Lamar Jackson QB Baltimore Ravens

A year after almost becoming the first "Mr. Irrelevant to win the MVP award, Brock Purdy takes it home in his junior season. With the star-studded cast the 49ers have surrounded him with, it's likely Purdy's stats and advanced analytics are impressive again this season. Couple this with his status as the QB for the best team in the NFC and it would surprise no one to see this young man win the league's most prestigious award next season.

Last year, Purdy had 4,280 passing yards, 31 TDs and 11 INTs. With only his third season as a pro about to get under way in his age-24 season, Purdy should taken an extra step this season which could make this 49ers' offense truly scary. With the offensive weapons that surround him, it shouldn't be crazy to say that Purdy could be on par for around 4,600 yards and 37 TDs. He easily could get 5,000 and 40 but with McCaffrey getting a lot of touches out of the backfield, he'll still win MVP with lowered numbers.

Runner-up for this award will be Lamar Jackson. The best dual-threat in the league will not only put up impressive stats again next year but will lead his Ravens to an AFC-best 13 wins this year.

COY Robert Salah New York Jets

runner-up Zac Taylor Cincinnati Bengals

According to my predictions of the 2024-25 season, the New York Jets go 12-5 and take their first AFC East division title since 2002. With the comeback of Aaron Rodgers assuredly being a better option than Zach Wilson last year, the team that Robert Salah has put together will be front and center this year and I believe will surprise everyone.

To be honest with you, the real person to be celebrated is the GM Joe Douglas, but Saleh's ability to not only draft the way he has over the last 4 years but how he coaches his defense which has been a consistent top-5 group since he took over is impressive. With a healthy Aaron Rodgers back in the helm and a great offensive skill group aligned for this year, the Jets turnaround from a 7-10 to 12-5 AFC East title should finally give Saleh the credit he deserves as a great HC.

OPOY Ceedee Lamb WR Dallas Cowboys

runner-up Garret Wilson WR New York Jets

This pick may be controversial because of Lamb's status going into his final year of his contract and potentially sitting out in hopes of a new deal, but it has reason. Lamb is coming off one of the greatest receiving season ever and at only 25 years old is firmly in his prime. Adding the factor of losing Tony Pollard means that Ceedee Lamb is FIRMLY the #1 target in Dallas with only Jake Ferguson and Brandin Cooks to compete with for catches. After racking up 135 catches for 1,749 yards and 12 TDs, as long as Lamb's contract disputes don't keep him off the field, I don't see why he cant surpass these numbers and have a truly historic season next year that will land him the OPOY in 2024.

Runner-up for this award will be Garrett Wilson. Thanks to Aaron Rodgers playing a full season this year and the New York Jets being good enough for a divisional title, Wilson should see his numbers surpass his rookie stats and get well above the 100 catch and 1,100 yard marks even after the Mike Williams addition.

DPOY T.J. Watt OLB Pittsburgh Steelers

runner-up Sauce Gardner CB New York Jets

To put it frankly, T.J. Watt was robbed last year. League-leading 19 sacks with another 19 TFLs, 4 FFs, 3 FRs and a TD with an interception to boot and Watt should've ran away with his 2nd DPOY award since 2021. The Steelers defense has ranked within the Top-10 for every year since T.J. Watt has been there. He helps the defense in more ways than just pass rush as his 4 takeaways last season proves. Besides an injury-riddled 2022, Watt has not posted a season sack total under-13.5 since his sophomore campaign and has given no reason to believe he'll start now.

The runner-up for this category, Sauce Gardner, is an interesting take as there hasn't been a non-pass rusher this high in the DPOY rankings since Stephon Gilmore won the award 5 years ago. Sauce Gardner not only has the media prestige to potentially do just that, but has the skill to do so in spades. Being a part of that New York Jets team we've talked about a few times already helps, but in two years has received an average PFF grade of 89.4 and a completion rate of less than 50%. If he doesn't win it this year, it seems he'll be in the running for many years to come.

CBPOY Aaron Rodgers QB New York Jets

runner-up Kirk Cousins QB Atlanta Falcons

And here he is! A man we've mentioned a few times already on a team that seems to be running up the score on this list. A-Rod's cataclysmic injury on Week 1 SNF was one of the most anti-climactic things in NFL history, but you know what they say: Just a minor setback for a major comeback.

Entering the 2023 season the Jets were looked at as a favorite to go to the playoffs with a great defense and now a great QB. Well after Rodgers' injury they went out in the offseason and got EVEN BETTER. Adding Hassan Reddick for a much needed 7-tech edge rusher will erase this defense's only hole and adding Mike Williams and Tyron Smith in FA and Olu Fashanu and Malachi Corley in the draft gives this offense veteran starters and youthful depth. Aaron Rodgers last year in Green Bay saw 26 TDs and almost 3,700 yards. An obvious choice for this award after last year's injury, Rodgers should EASILY surpass these numbers and lock up this award.

OROY Caleb Williams QB Chicago Bears

runner-up Marvin Harrison Jr. WR Arizona Cardinals

Another obvious choice for the award, although another close race like last year's OROY could be in the works for a couple of these rookies. This year's draft class was one of the most offensively-talented classes in some time and with a lot of those future stars going to already-great teams or teams they will have ample opportunity to showcase their talent, it wouldn't be a surprise to see 5 or 6 people with a legit shot to win.

Caleb Williams has to be my pick and most others' as well, the best QB we've seen in a long time, Williams is going to an already very good spot in Chicago with an incredibly dynamic offense waiting for him. Williams is an improvisor at the position with dual-threat ability and an accuracy that has given him some loose comparisons to Aaron Rodgers over the years. Seeing the Bears go to 8 or more wins this year with Williams getting 4,000 yards (which would be a Chicago-season record) and 25 TDs isn't out of the question.

To spotlight some other rookies we could see toward the top of the list, WR Marvin Harrison Jr. and RB Trey Benson in Arizona, WR Malik Nabers in New York, QB J.J. McCarthy in Minnesota and WR Keon Coleman in Buffalo.

DROY Terrion Arnold CB Detroit Lions

Runner-Up Dallas Turner OLB Minnesota Vikings

This was the most difficult award to predict on the list, but ultimately I went with Terrion Arnold, Lions Cornerback. The biggest reason for Arnold's would-be coronation is his ability to get meaningful turnovers as a part of the Lions defense that lacked turnovers from their corners last year.

Arnold may not be the best defensive player in this class but he possibly is going to the best situation of any corner, as the Lions will give him all the opportunity he could ask for while surrounding him with one of the best defenses in the league. Paired with defensive gurus Dan Campbell and Aaron Glenn, it wouldn't be shocking to see Arnold get 3-to-5 turnovers while keeping opposing QBs to less than 60% completion rate.

Other rookies I can see having great seasons include DT Byron Murphy in Seattle, DE Laiatu Latu in Indianapolis, OLB Dallas Turner in Minnesota, SAF Tyler Nubin in New York and CB Kool-Aid McKinstry in New Orleans.

ACOY Zac Robinson OC Atlanta Falcons

runner-up Jim Bob Cooter OC Indianapolis Colts

An award that is always difficult to predict, I'm taking the new OC in Atlanta to take Assistant Coach of the Year. Robinson has been one of the unsung heroes of the recent success the Los Angeles Rams have had over the last 5 years as their QB coach and pass game coordinator. When Stafford first got to Los Angeles and worked with Robinson, magic was made and a Super Bowl was won. Now Robinson will officially be an OC with another veteran QB in Kirk Cousins and an offense with multiple dangerous weapons in London, Pitts and Bijan Robinson. With Atlanta's suspicious offseason being over and the team ready to hit the field, it wouldn't shock me to see the Falcons offense be amongst the league's elite and possibly landing Robinson a HC job within a few years.

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