The Cincinnati Bengals are set to start their fourth season with franchise quarterback Joe Burrow at the helm. Burrow once again missed virtually all of training camp as he dealt with a calf injury.
Despite never having a normal off-season, Burrow has emerged as one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and has been in NFL MVP talks each of the last two seasons. He has never won the award, but with his compliment of weapons returning and an improved offensive line, we could see an even better version of Burrow in 2023.
Those could be reasons that some NFL executives do believe Burrow will be the league’s most valuable player this season. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler surveyed NFL executives, and Burrow was a top pick by many of them.
“We could set the default answer to Patrick Mahomes every year with little complaint,” Fowler said. “Several execs said the same line on Mahomes: ‘He’s on another level.’ And he is. But Burrow has gained traction as the league’s second-best quarterback in the eyes of many. And he has made steady progress on the award circuit, earning Comeback Player of the Year in 2021 and finishing fourth in the MVP voting last season. He has thrown a combined 69 touchdowns the past two seasons. And he might have the best receiver tandem in the league with Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins.
“‘He’s in the fourth year in [Zac Taylor’s] system, he’s had the same receivers for all four of those years, same coaches, same offensive line for the most part,’ an AFC exec said. ‘He’s refined. It’s another level of advancement that comes each year. I thought he was playing as good as Mahomes late last year.’ What helps Mahomes’ case: Expect the Chiefs to win some shootouts early in the year should Chris Jones continue his holdout.”
As we have seen the last two seasons, the AFC has run through the Bengals and the Kansas City Chiefs, both with their superstar quarterbacks leading the charge. The same could be the case for the MVP award, as the two look to build on their already impressive resumes.