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The Case for and Against Josh Allen Winning NFL MVP

Most defensive coaches wouldn’t want to go up against the Bills’ quarterback in the playoffs, but his 18 turnovers will impact his chances.

With two weeks left in the regular season and the news about Russell Wilson on Wednesday, there’s plenty to get to in this week’s mailbag. Let’s go!

From StocksMakeMeRich (@StocksMake): Can Josh Allen win MVP if he wins out and the Buffalo Bills steal the division right out from under the Miami Dolphins?

Stocks, I think he deserves consideration. I think as much as any team does with its quarterback, the Buffalo Bills ask Josh Allen to put the cape on when trouble strikes. And Allen, more often than not, delivers. He’s bought the Bills time to bring along talented young weapons such as James Cook, Khalil Shakir and Dalton Kincaid. And I think if you ask any defensive coach to rank the quarterbacks he’d want to play the least in the playoffs, it wouldn’t take any of them very long to get to Allen.

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen throws a pass in a game.

Allen has 18 turnovers on the season, including 15 interceptions and three fumbles lost.

The turnovers, of course, have hurt his case. His 15 interceptions rank second in the NFL (he has two fewer than Sam Howell and one more than Patrick Mahomes). He’s also lost three fumbles.

But again, I do think that, over time, the turnovers have been a result of situations and circumstances where the team was asking a lot of him. While that doesn’t excuse all of them, it does bring context to some of them. And I think it’s got to be part of the equation when you’re assessing his (really strong) case for the award.

Right now, I’d vote for Lamar Jackson. Allen might be second for me.

From Dan from Torqua (@dan_torquay_man): Will Russ be with the Broncos next season?

In fairness to Dan, this question was asked before the news that the Denver Broncos were turning to Jarrett Stidham. And I say in fairness because the answer to the question is now obvious.

No, Russell Wilson will not be a Bronco next year, and that’s why he’s being benched right now. Wilson has $39 million for 2024 already fully guaranteed. He also has $37 million in ’25 money guaranteed for injury only that would vest as fully guaranteed in March. But if Wilson can’t pass a physical in March, the Broncos would be responsible for $76 million. Benching him effectively mitigates Wilson’s injury risk.

No one, by the way, should be surprised by this. Wilson did get better this year under Sean Payton and could have a future somewhere under the right circumstances. He just wasn’t worth close to the contract he got in 2022 going forward, making this a pretty straightforward value proposition for the team.

Wilson will soon be able to move on, and Payton will be able to move forward with his rebuild in Denver.

From Russell in North Carolina (@RussellB_704): Over or under double-digit head coaching changes before next season?

Russell, I’d say under. We can go through it.

The Carolina Panthers’, Las Vegas Raiders’ and Los Angeles Chargers’ jobs are already open. The Washington Commanders’ position almost certainly will be. And for the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks, they’ve had Super Bowl–champion coaches who’ve been in place forever, and it might be time (for different reasons) for new leadership. Chicago Bears team president Kevin Warren has been very quiet with his intentions and could want his own guy. The three NFC South teams (Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons) have been the subject of rumors. Some have wondered, too, about whether Mike Vrabel wants to rebuild the Tennessee Titans.

That gets you to 12, and all those jobs will not be open. Plus, there are a lot of ifs with more than half of those. But I think eight would be a realistic guess as to the final number. Plus, there are a lot of quality candidates for jobs.

From Jim Doss (@jbd3jd): Do you see the Commanders looking to Baltimore for their next GM and coach?

Jim, I strongly believe it’s one of the models the Commanders are looking at—and I think that’s the whole underlying thing for new owner Josh Harris’s group. It sounds like they’re looking at organizational models as much as they are individual people, and Baltimore is one they’ve studied.

It makes sense that they would, too. The Baltimore Ravens have established themselves as a team that’s won with different GMs (Ozzie Newsome, Eric DeCosta), coaches (Brian Billick, John Harbaugh), quarterbacks (Trent Dilfer, Steve McNair, Joe Flacco, Lamar Jackson) and systems on both sides of the ball. Their foundation has remained in so many ways (what a Raven is, intangibly, has never really changed), but the organization has continued to evolve in a way that’s kept it at the forefront of the sport.

Along those lines, it’s worth mentioning that Harris’s first big football hire has already been made, with new SVP of football strategy Eugene Shen already aboard. Shen, for what it’s worth, got his first job in pro football in Baltimore, spending a half decade with the Ravens, a time over which he worked closely with Harbaugh.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin

Would the Steelers trade Mike Tomlin to a team looking for a new coach?

From Kevin Lauffer (@terriblefan68): Will Mike Tomlin be traded?

Kevin, right now, I’d guess no. But I do think if he does wind up somewhere else in 2024, this question goes a long way toward explaining how it would happen.

I don’t think Tomlin will get fired, and I don’t think he will quit. But what if, say, the Chargers and Raiders call the Rooneys? What if one of those teams is willing to pay $20 million per year. Wouldn’t the Rooneys have an obligation to tell Tomlin? How would Tomlin take the overture? Would he truly consider leaving a place where he’s so comfortable? Or is it, maybe, just maybe, time after 17 seasons?

I think these are all questions worth asking. It doesn’t mean he’ll be gone in 2024. But it does mean some team, one maybe thinking a bit outside the box, should make that call.

From Big Daddy (@bigdaddybustard): What two cities deserve expansion teams?

Big Daddy, the first thing to take into account is that the NFL won’t approve anything that doesn’t help the owners’ bottom line. So for something like this to fly with the owners, I’d say there’d have to be a very clear vision for how it would boost revenue to the point where 1/34 of the new piece is more than 1/32 of the old pie.

For that to happen, I think the NFL would have to be looking internationally.

So my guess would have to be in cities such as London and Munich. And to get there, a lot of logistical hurdles would still have to be cleared. Otherwise, the NFL would’ve done it—since that was the whole endgame for the International Series when it launched in 2007.

From Hum Bats (@Hum_Bats): Thoughts on the Browns making a deep playoff run?

Hum, I love the idea of it. A deep playoff run probably means multiple playoff wins and at least a berth in the AFC title game. And while I have so much respect for what they’ve done—from the players to the coaches to the scouts—I’m just not there yet in thinking they’d be able to make it past three of the following four teams: Baltimore, Buffalo, Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins.

In other words, can you see a scenario where at least three of those teams are at home, and Joe Flacco and the Browns’ fourth and fifth tackles, and backup running back, and fourth and fifth safeties are playing to get to Vegas? I have trouble with that.

That said, I think this year’s experience will put next year’s team in a tremendous spot.

From KTA (@keiteay): What is the NFL's honest, unfiltered evaluation of Jacksonville as a pro football city/market?

KTA, the league and team’s willingness to take one of their home games and ship it overseas annually says a lot. When the NFL chose to expand to Charlotte and Jacksonville over St. Louis and Baltimore in 1995, it was with the idea that both of those cities could grow the way their Southern neighbor in Atlanta did. It happened to a degree in Charlotte. It actually happened in Nashville, too, which is why the Oilers moving there wound up being a home run for the NFL. It didn’t in Jacksonville.

I’m not sure that’s anyone’s fault. And it’s not the fault of the people of Jacksonville who love and have followed the Jaguars over the last 30 years, either. It just sort of is what it is.

Now, does that mean it’s not manageable for the league? No. They can manage being the only team in the 41st-biggest market. But no one is pretending it’s the way the league envisioned it when the Jaguars got started in 1995. And if the multibillion-dollar stadium renovation doesn’t happen, things could get interesting there because I personally don’t think it’s going to be easy to secure the amount of public funding they’re asking for.

Marvin Harrison Jr. jumps up to catch the ball in the endzone while another player reaches up to try to pull him down

Harrison Jr. finished the season with 67 catches for 1,211 yards and 14 touchdowns.

From Alan S. (@doiknowyoutoo): Will Marvin Harrison Jr. be a Pro Bowler?

Alan, I feel confident saying, yes. I think the guy runs in the 4.4s, and maybe even the 4.3s, which is wild for someone his size (6'4", 205 pounds). And he’s not a finished product—there’s still a lot of room for growth physically, and developmentally (he’s probably not the route runner, yet, that Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson were coming out).

So I think coming into the league, he’s a No. 1 receiver, with a chance to be All-Pro with just a little refinement. Given the type of kid, and worker, he’s known to be, I think he’s one of the top-10 receivers in football within two years with a good chance to be better than that. Scouts I’ve talked to see him as the best to come into the league since Calvin Johnson, A.J. Green and Julio Jones arrived over a three-draft stretch. I’d concur.

(Though I’m no scout, some things are just obvious.)

From Jim Struck (@jstruck): What are the odds AP becomes Raiders head coach. MD can’t screw this up right?

A couple things should really help Antonio Pierce with Mark Davis. The first is that Davis still harbors some regret over not giving Rich Bisaccia another year after Bisaccia united a team that was going through a lot—the Jon Gruden fiasco, and Henry Ruggs’s and Damon Arnette’s off-field problems—and got the Raiders to the playoffs. The second is that Davis does listen to his players. I believe the three in particular he counseled with earlier in the year (Davante Adams, Josh Jacobs, Maxx Crosby) will be strong supporters of Pierce.

One thing I’ve heard is that Davis may have a big swing in him, and that he’d go with Pierce if that swing weren’t to work out. Either way, Pierce seems to be positioned nicely.

From Walter Pasacrita (@saradioboy): Where do the Jets go with their first-round pick?

Walter, it’s usually silly to predetermine these things so far ahead of time. That said, it’s hard to see the Jets not going with an offensive tackle. The question to me is whether they’re in range to get Penn State’s Olu Fashanu or Notre Dame’s Joe Alt, or do they wind up with someone such as Georgia’s Amarius Mims instead?

At any rate, it does help that this is shaping up to be a good year to need a tackle.

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll

Pete Carroll could step away after 14 seasons with the Seahawks.

From Taylor Sims (@TaylorSims14): Is Pete Carroll still the coach of the Seahawks in 2024?

Taylor, I think so. But there have been enough murmurs in the rumor mill that Carroll could walk and that the Seahawks could replace him with Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn for me not to jump to any conclusions. But, again, my guess is Carroll’s back for a 15th season in Seattle.

From knick _knack_ (@knick_knack__): Should the Lions pay Jared Goff about $45-50 million per year, or make him play his final year? Should they plan to move on?

Knick knack, I think Detroit should do the kind of deal Daniel Jones did with the Giants, and keep an eye on young quarterbacks to develop. They’re not going to be in the range to get a guy such as Caleb Williams in 2024, and probably won’t be for the foreseeable future. But it’s always good practice to draft and develop at that position behind your starter, which is what the idea was in taking Hendon Hooker in the second round last year.

From Jim D (@JimDiee): Do the Giants pick a QB in the first round next year?

Jim, if there’s one they like, they should. Next year is the final guaranteed year on Daniel Jones’s deal, and that would set up nicely for Jayden Daniels, J.J. McCarthy or whoever else to sit behind Jones for a year, learn, and be ready to play in 2025.

In that way, the Giants are in a nice spot. They don’t have to overextend themselves for someone they may not love. But they can certainly take one if they see something special.

From Rick Ball (@rickmball): What percentage chance that Bill Belichick is still the coach of the Patriots in 2024?

Rick, I’d say less than 50-50.

But I could see a scenario where Patriots owner Robert Kraft goes to Belichick and lays it out like this: We were going to restructure football ops after you retired, so rather than waiting for that, we’re going to do it now. I’m hiring a general manager. You won’t report to him, but he won’t report to you, either. Both of you will report to me, and you will work together, with his job being to build the roster up to 90, and your job being to cut it down to 53. If you want to be a part of that, great. If not, we can find a graceful way to end this.

That would allow for Kraft to say that he tried, and he didn’t kick Belichick out the door. What I don’t know is whether Belichick would go for that or not. Most people who know him say there is no way. But it’s possible his reaction to a proposal like that would ride on what his options might be outside of the Patriots.

From Harold Genderson (@HaroldGenderson): Odds at Tee Higgins to the Panthers in the offseason?

Harold, I love the idea of it as a way to take advantage of having your quarterback on a rookie deal. But without knowing who’ll be making those decisions, it’s hard to forecast what a team will do in March.

From Shedrick Carter (@shedrickcarter2): You are reporting Arthur Smith seems to be safe. If that is the case, do you think that there will be some kind of expectation that more will need to change outside of just the QB, like mandatory changes to the coaching staff?

Shedrick, I think Smith makes it, and I think much of his staff stays in place, with the mandate that they find their solution at quarterback this offseason—which is a tough spot to be in.

From Cali (@CaliJets): With the Jets’ leadership coming back in 2024, any noise on coaching changes such as moving on from Nathaniel Hackett, Todd Downing, Rob Calabrese?

Cali, I’d refer you to my Tuesday MMQB column on the Jets—Saleh said it’s his intention to bring the staff back intact.