The most unjust exercise the NFL does in my opinion (besides the Pro Bowl) is the Comeback Player of the Year narrative. Last year Ryan Tannehill won the award, and while he did have somewhat of a comeback season there were players like Darren Waller who deserved the award much much more. It is likely none of the players that actually deserve Comeback Player of the Year will receive the award, but these are some candidates that I think should be considered.
Last year, and four the past 6 seasons (and five teams) that Thomas has played in the NFL, nobody knew who the hell Logan Thomas even was. From his beginnings as a subpar third string quarterback, to his move to tight end in Buffalo, Thomas has been flying under the radar for years. Now, he finally got a chance to break out in Washington where playmakers are very scarce, and Thomas picked up the mantle and performed well. Thomas deserves the award because I do not think anybody ever had particularly high expectations for him, yet he is performing very well.
Xavier Rhodes, DB
Wait, why would some 2019 Pro Bowl corner win a comeback award? Well this is a perfect example of why the Pro Bowl is a pitiful exercise, Xavier Rhodes was getting annihilated in 2019 and did not even deserve a starting job much less a Pro Bowl. Let me throw out some stats to show you what I mean. In 2019, when quarterbacks targeted Rhodes he allowed a 132.7 passer rating, as opposed to an 80.5 rating in 2020. Rhodes had a PFF grade of 76.3 in 2020, as opposed to his abysmal 46.4 grade in 2019. Rhodes was targeted about the same number of times in 2019 and 2020, but in 2019 he allowed 59 receptions, while in 2020 he only allowed 38. So yeah, I’d say he’s a damn good candidate to win this award.
Rob Gronkowski, TE
How about a candidate that was literally not even in football last year? Gronk had a pretty slow start but he has really improved down the stretch and looks as if he is closing in on his former form. Any player that can come back from a year away from football and look like he is returning to form deserves respect in my book.