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2016/17 NFL MVP Candidates
Updated: June 2017

Cam Newton
Can the Panthers QB repeat as MVP? It’s entirely possible. Newton will have the luxury of having WR Kelvin Benjamin back after missing all of last season with a knee injury. Devin Funchess has a year under his belt and veteran Ted Ginn Jr. returns. Running back Jonathan Stewart will take some of the pressure off Newton leading a powerful Panthers running game. At this point, the MVP is Newton’s to lose.

Tom Brady
He will likely miss the season’s first four games, but will it matter? At 38 years old, Brady threw for 36 touchdowns against just seven interceptions last season and looked much younger than the now retired Peyton Manning. If he leads the Patriots to another postseason and lights up the stat lines, an MVP is possible.

Carson Palmer
After missing most of the 2014 season, Palmer returned in 2015 to have his best season as a pro. He threw for 4,671 yards, 35 touchdowns and threw just 11 interceptions leading the Cardinals to the NFC Championship game. At 36 years old, Palmer is getting up there, but another season like last year will put him right in the thick of the MVP race.

Antonio Brown
The Steelers receiver is absolutely the best in football. He led the NFL in receptions (136) once again. He totaled a career-high 1,834 yards and 10 touchdowns and helped lead Pittsburgh to the playoffs once again. He is the first player in NFL history to have back-to-back seasons with at least 125 receptions. If the Steelers can have a better season than last, Brown becomes a serious MVP candidate.

Adrian Peterson
He missed most of the 2014 season dealing with the whole child abuse thing. All he did in his return last year was lead the NFL in rushing. His performance helped the Vikings win the NFC North title. If Minnesota puts up another double-digit win performance, Peterson will surely be a factor and if so will be an MVP candidate.

Rob Gronkowski
The league’s most dynamic tight end, Gronkowski caught 72 passes for 1,176 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. In six seasons in the NFL, Gronk has been a first-team All-Pro four times and selected to the Pro Bowl on four occasions. He is usually overshadowed by his quarterback (Brady), but Gronkowski may have a shot this year due to Brady’s early season suspension.

J.J. Watt
If a defensive player is in the MVP discussion at the end of next season, it will most likely be Watt, a three-time AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Watt led the league in sacks once again in 2015 recording 17.5 and leading the Texans to the AFC South division title and a playoff berth. He will likely put up big numbers again and if Houston can reach the postseason again Watt could lay claim to his first MVP trophy.

Khalil Mack
Watt is likely the only defensive player with a shot at an MVP award, but Mack, the Raiders star defensive end, could make a run. A superb pass rusher, Mack recorded 15 sacks and two forced fumbles last season. The Raiders are improving and a trip to playoffs led by a defense anchored by Mack could boost the former Buffalo All-American’s MVP stock.

Aaron Rodgers
He suffered last year as a result of Jordy Nelson’s knee injury in the preseason and Eddie Lacy’s eating habits. Lacy ran for just 758 yards and three TDs last year after eclipsing 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons. Rodgers will also have a revamped offensive line. He was sacked 46 times last season. If that happens again, don’t expect Rodgers to be in the MVP discussion.

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