If Seahawks have 2 Pro Bowlers and Ravens have 12, shouldn’t Russell Wilson win MVP?
The Seattle Seahawks seemed to receive a message on Tuesday night.
Sure, they’re 11-3, lead the NFC West and are in possession of the NFC’s top seed. But when the Pro Bowl rosters were announced and only two Seahawks players were included – Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner – it just hammered home that the national perception of Seattle’s team is that it’s not as good as the record states.
The reveal of the Seahawks’ two Pro Bowlers, however, brought to mind an interesting question regarding Wilson, who has essentially been in a two-man race for the NFL MVP award this year with Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.
“Because the Seahawks have only one Pro Bowler on offense,” 710 ESPN Seattle’s Tom Wassell posed Wednesday on Tom, Jake and Stacy, “does that automatically make Russell Wilson the MVP?”
Comparing Wilson’s numbers to Jackson’s this season, it’s clear that Jackson has the edge. He leads the NFL with 33 touchdown passes, has the third-best passer rating (112.8) and is ninth in completion percentage (66.2%). And then there’s what he does on the ground, ranking eighth in the league with 1,103 rushing yards, which is even more remarkable when you consider that Arizona QB Kyler Murray is the only other non-running back in the top 35 in rushing.
Wilson keeps up with Jackson in passing stats – he’s third in touchdown passes (28), fifth in passer rating (109.3) and seventh in completion percentage (67.4%) – but his 311 rushing yards pale in comparison to Jackson’s output.
The Pro Bowl rosters should give pause to people who may otherwise only look at the stats, though. Not only does Wilson officially play with no other Pro Bowl players on his offense and only one more on defense, but Jackson is one of a record-tying 12 – yes, 12 – Ravens on the AFC Pro Bowl team. Essentially, if you use the Pro Bowl as a measurement, Wilson’s stellar 2019 campaign is coming with considerable less help than Jackson’s.
Jake Heaps, one of Wilson’s former backups with the Seahawks, thinks that makes a great case for Wilson’s MVP bid.
“It just goes to show how much Russell has on his shoulders and how much he’s had to do in order for this team to be successful, in order for this team to be 11-3,” Heaps said.
Heaps understands why Jackson is likely to win MVP at the end of the season, but he stands by his position that Wilson should have a claim to the award.
“Obviously the Baltimore Ravens are in a great position where they are (and) Lamar Jackson’s a huge part of that. However, as I’ve always said, Lamar Jackson has an incredible group around him. The offense, head coach, defensively – he’s got an incredible team around him. Where as the Seattle Seahawks, it’s not like Russell’s playing with a bunch of scrubs – I don’t want it to sound like that, and I’ve heard other people try and make that type of argument… I look at Russell and say that he has had more on his shoulders – significantly more – than Lamar Jackson has in order for his team to be where they’re at, and to me that makes him the MVP of this league.”
Seahawks insider Stacy Rost agreed with her co-host’s stance but thinks in the end the fact that MVP awards usually go to players with better stats as opposed to a more literal interpretation of ‘most valuable player’ is why Jackson will win the honor.
“I like that argument, and I think you can definitely make it,” Rost said in response to Heaps. “Earlier this year, when we were still comparing Russell Wilson and Lamar Jackson, it was more of a neck-and-neck race and Lamar Jackson hadn’t pulled so far ahead in the eyes of the national media especially. … If you’re making those big, shiny numbers and stats and you’re doing things nobody has done before, you’re probably on a really good team, like the Baltimore Ravens. And you’re probably a big reason that team is 12-2, as is the case of Lamar Jackson. That isn’t accidental. You are an MVP-caliber player because you can do those things. … I think that we measure the MVP by that scale and not what someone means for their team.”
You can listen to the full conversation at the top of Wednesday’s episode of Tom, Jake and Stacy at this link or in the player below.