The NFL Comeback Player of the Year award isn't the most prestigious of the postseason accolades, even though it is set to have its deepest pool of candidates in years. Cam Newton reportedly joining the New England Patriots makes the competition even more intriguing, as he is now one of the favorites to take home the honor.
While injuries have devastated Newton's career, the former league MVP is just 31 years old and should be in the prime of his football life. Newton has demonstrated in workout videos he is healthy, and the Patriots made the low-risk, high-reward move in reportedly adding him. Newton's odds to win NFL Comeback Player of the Year are now strong, according to William Hill Sports Book. While Newton isn't the favorite to win Comeback Player of the Year at the moment, his odds increased from 10-1 when they opened on April 30 to 4.5-1 after signing with New England.
Here are the updated odds to win NFL Comeback Player of the Year, via William Hill:
Of the favorites to win this award, Gronkowski and Stafford have actually captured the honor before. Gronkowski won the award in 2014 and Stafford in 2011, both seasons which they came off of injuries (though they hadn't changed teams). Since the award was presented in 1998, 13 quarterbacks have won the award -- helping Newton's chances.
Newton has started 124 games in his career, compiling a 68-55-1 record while completing 59.6% of his passes for 29,041 yards, 182 touchdowns, 108 interceptions and an 86.1 passer rating. He also has 4,806 rushing yards and 58 touchdowns, winning the 2015 NFL MVP award and earning three Pro Bowl selections. Winning NFL Comeback Player of the Year award could be an easy task for Newton if he displays the similar amount of success he displayed in the first eight games of the 2018 season with the Carolina Panthers, completing 67.3% of his passes for 1,893 yards and 15 touchdowns to just four interceptions (100.8 passer rating). He also rushed for 342 yards on 73 carries (4.7 yards per carry) and four touchdowns.
Since his shoulder injury he suffered in Week 10 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Newton completed 63.4% of his passes with just seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. He rushed for only 134 yards on 31 carries (4.3 yards per carry) and no touchdowns in seven games -- while being sacked 18 times. The 82.1 passer rating certainly amounted to the shoulder and foot injuries he sustained.
Newton has some competition for this award with Roethlisberger playing just two games last season after landing on injured reserve with an elbow injury. The Pittsburgh Steelers elevating their offense to an elite level and making the playoffs will increase Roethlisberger's chances of capturing the honor, especially if Pittsburgh ends up with a better record than New England (Roethlisberger is also 38 years old).
No player coming out of retirement has ever won the award, which hurts Gronkowski's chances -- the award is typically given to players who missed a full season or a majority of the previous season due to injury. New Orleans Saints defensive end Joe Johnson and San Francisco 49ers running back Garrison Hearst started that trend. Johnson won the award in 2000 after missing the 1999 season with a knee injury and Hearst in 2001 after missing the 1999 and 2000 seasons with avascular necrosis in his left leg.
Newton's chances are strong to win this honor if he is anywhere near above average and he's a big reason the Patriots keep their throne atop the AFC East. Again, health is the major concern with Newton -- not his talent at quarterback.