Sun. Feb 25th, 2024

The 2023 regular season has come to a close, and just two teams remain standing in the NFL. While the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs still have Super Bowl LVIII in front of them, most clubs across the league are looking back on the year and evaluating the season that was. In that spirit, we’ve combed through all 32 teams and highlighted the best of the best from each squad, naming a team MVP. 

While quarterbacks will certainly be well represented within this list of MVPs, both sides of the ball and multiple position groups get their time in the limelight as well. Below, you can find each team’s most valuable player from 2023. 

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Even missing four games due to injury, Conner was the no doubt MVP for Arizona in 2023. The offense went as far as he would take them, and he was a true tone-setter whenever he was on the field. He notched a career-high 1,040 rushing yards on a five-yards-per-carry average, and his 1,205 total yards from scrimmage were the second-highest of his career. For a team that started three quarterbacks this season, Conner was as reliable as it got out of the backfield. 

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Jessie Bates III headlined a strong Falcons defense in 2023 after inking a four-year, $64.02 million deal last offseason. The defensive back was impactful out of the gate, notching two interceptions in his Atlanta debut. That kicked off a season that would result in Bates getting a second-team All-Pro nod along with a Pro Bowl selection. He led the team with 132 tackles and six interceptions and was tied for the most pass breakups (11) and forced fumbles (three). 

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With some of these, you can’t overthink it or get too cute. Lamar Jackson is the presumptive league MVP and was the straw that stirred the drink in Baltimore. While there are plenty of worthy candidates on the defense side of the ball for Baltimore, Jackson’s play down the stretch helped secure the No. 1 seed in the AFC while taking down several playoff heavyweights in the process. He finished the year with a career-high completion percentage and also rushed for 821 yards and five touchdowns on top of his strong passing totals. 

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If Buffalo didn’t have Josh Allen, they likely wouldn’t have made the playoffs — let alone won the AFC East. While his gunslinger style — and the turnovers that come with it — can sometimes grow weary on NFL observers, everything else he can do on a football field makes up for it and then some. His arm talent, combined with his mobility, makes him a unicorn, and it was a key reason why the Bills went 6-1 down the the stretch to leapt back up into the playoff picture by winning the division. 

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It was a forgetful year for the Panthers, who fired Frank Reich midseason, finished with the worst record in the league, and didn’t get many flashes from No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young. That said, Derrick Brown has been a bright spot for the franchise. He put together a Pro Bowl season in 2023 during which he finished second on the team with 103 tackles while also posting two sacks, six pass breakups and an interception from along the defensive line. 

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Jaylon Johnson has set himself up nicely to get paid this offseason. The Bears corner put together a fantastic 2023 campaign that helped anchor Chicago’s secondary. He finished the year with 36 tackles, 10 pass breakups and four interceptions, all of which helped him to a Pro Bowl and second-team All-Pro nod. When targeted, opposing quarterbacks completed just 55.2% of their passes against him with a 50.9 passer rating. 

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Hendrickson continues to fly a bit under the radar as it relates to being one of the top pass-rushers in the NFL. He was a dominant piece for Cincinnati this season, playing in all 17 games and totaling 17.5 sacks on the year. Those sack totals were a career-high and ranked only behind Steelers star pass-rusher T.J. Watt. 

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Of course, Myles Garrett is a Defensive Player of the Year candidate and a cornerstone to the Browns franchise, but I don’t believe they make the playoffs without Joe Flacco. Coming in initially as a member of the practice squad in late November, Flacco became Cleveland’s starter in Week 13, which kicked off a remarkable run for the veteran quarterback. He went 4-1 in his five starts down the stretch while averaging 323.2 passing yards per game. That was good enough to secure the No. 5 seed in the AFC for Cleveland.

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Similar to Flacco above, the Cowboys have a number of players (Micah Parsons, Dak Prescott, CeeDee Lamb, etc.) who could easily be the team MVP, but let’s give it to Bland. The third-year corner led the NFL in interceptions, broke the NFL record for most interceptions returned for a touchdown and was named a first-team All-Pro because of it. The 24-year-old is also a Defensive Player of the Year finalist. His ascension was key in Dallas keeping its first-place standing in the NFC East going, particularly following the season-ending injury to fellow cornerback Trevon Diggs.   

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Courtland Sutton was a fantastic weapon for the Broncos in 2023. Whenever they needed a big play, it seemed like the veteran wideout was always able to come through with one. He led the team across the board in receiving totals, including 10 receiving touchdowns on the year. (No other player had more than four.) While his receiving yards total wasn’t as massive as some other elite wideouts in the NFL, Sutton was a sneaky Pro Bowl snub. 

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The Lions rookie class may go down as a franchise-altering group as they received stellar play from a ton of first-year players, including tight end Sam LaPorta. He broke the record for most receptions by a tight end in his rookie season with 86 and was a reliable security blanket for Jared Goff in the passing game. LaPorta also elevated his play in the postseason, catching 21 of his 27 targets for 176 yards and a touchdown through three games. 

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The Packers were supposed to be in a transition year in the first season of Jordan Love as the team’s starter post-Aaron Rodgers. Instead, Love turned it on down the stretch and helped lead Green Bay to the divisional round and nearly upset the 49ers to get to the NFC Championship. Over his final eight games in the regular season, Love completed 70.2% of his passes, averaged 268.8 passing yards per game, had a 112.7 passer rating, and threw 18 touchdowns with just one interception. It looks like the Packers have threaded the QB needle once again. 

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Stroud put together one of the more impressive rookie seasons we’ve ever seen. At a certain point in the year, the Texans QB was in the MVP discussion, and he locked up NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year a long time ago. He had three game-winning drives throughout the year and another fourth-quarter comeback, flashing his clutch gene. Stroud also helped the Texans win the AFC South. By all accounts, he is not only Houston’s franchise quarterback but will rival to be among the top players in the league at his position in short order.  

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Pittman was the straw that stirred the drink of Indianapolis’ offense. He was a reliable target for both Anthony Richardson and Gardner Minshew after the rookie QB went down for the year. Pittman led the Colts in every meaningful receiving category in what was a career year in receptions and receiving yards for the fourth-year pro. 

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The former No. 7 overall pick is establishing himself as one of the more feared pass-rushers in the NFL. Allen just wrapped up a Pro Bowl season in 2023 where he had a team-high 17.5 sacks on the year to go along with 33 quarterback hits, two forced fumbles, and an interception. While he may have been the most impactful player on this defense in 2023, it’ll be fascinating to see how the team handles his looming free-agent status this offseason.

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Again, you can’t overthink this one. The Chiefs find themselves playing in another Super Bowl, and it wouldn’t be possible without Patrick Mahomes under center. Given the struggles the K.C. receiver unit had this year, it took a generational quarterback to help usher the offense forward while still winning games. Not many players — if any — could’ve done what Mahomes did this year.

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Simply put: Maxx Crosby is a stud. When he’s firing on all cylinders, he’s one of the very best pass-rushers in the NFL. For the second straight season, Crosby led the league in tackles for a loss (23), while also adding 14.5 sacks and 31 quarterback hits. All of that helped him to a Pro Bowl and a second-team All-Pro nod. 

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During his age 31 season, Keenan Allen continues to be the go-to weapon inside Los Angeles’ offense and is aging like fine wine. He posted career highs in receiving yards and receptions in 2023, picking up the slack within the Chargers offense following the season-ending injury to fellow wideout Mike Williams. 

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If not for C.J. Stroud, Puka Nacua would’ve been the runaway Offensive Rookie of the Year winner. The Rams wideout put together the greatest rookie year that a receiver has ever seen, breaking the single-season rookie record for receptions and receiving yards. His emergence was clutch for L.A. to begin the year with Cooper Kupp working his way back from injury, and his stellar play all season long helped the club reach the playoffs. 

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When Tyreek Hill was on the field for the Dolphins, they were a different unit that struck fear into opposing secondaries. For a chunk of the season, Hill was on pace to be the first receiver ever to surpass 2,000 receiving yards. While he fell off that pace, he still was the catalyst for this offense. 

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Hunter was a cornerstone of Minnesota’s blitz-happy defense in 2023. The 29-year-old finished the year with 16.5 sacks and 23 tackles for a loss, both career highs. Those efforts saw Hunter be named to the Pro Bowl for the fourth time in his career, and he was a big reason the Vikings stayed in the playoff race until late in the year. 

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The Patriots had a lot of problems in 2023, but Onwenu wasn’t one of them. Already a high-caliber starting guard inside New England’s offensive line, the team’s struggles at right tackle saw Onwenu kick outside to that position and solidify that side of the line down the stretch. He is an upcoming free agent whom the Patriots would be wise to retain at either guard or tackle. 

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Davis wrapped up his fourth-straight second-team All-Pro season in 2023 by leading the team with 121 tackles while playing in all 17 games. He also notched 6.5 sacks, 12 tackles for a loss and 11 total quarterback hits. David continues to be a key foundation for New Orleans’ solid defense. 

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The 26-year-old has established himself as one of the top defensive tackles in the league. This is the second year in a row that Lawrence has been named to the Pro Bowl while also getting second-team All-Pro honors. He finished the year with 4.5 sacks, 53 tackles, 21 quarterback hits and two pass breakups. Without a doubt, he was New York’s best player in 2023. 

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Williams earned first-team All-Pro honors in 2023 after playing all 17 games for the Jets and piling up 139 tackles, two forced fumbles and 15 tackles for a loss. He was also strong in coverage, totaling 10 pass breakups and an interception. Williams was also named by the team as its MVP, so it’s hard to ignore that as well. 

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Whenever you watched the Eagles this season, it always seemed like it was Smith who was jumping out and making clutch plays. While A.J. Brown is a star receiver in his own right, Smith seemed to be the clutch option for Jalen Hurts, catching 72.3% of his targets (a career-high). The offense struggled down the stretch along with the rest of the Eagles squad, but even when Tampa Bay upset Philly in the wild-card round, Smith totaled eight catches for 148 yards. 

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In an offense that lacked burst, Jaylen Warren had it in spades. The Steelers running back was the energizer for the offense and seemed to always make a play whenever his hands touched the football. In 17 games, he totaled 1,154 total yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns. You could argue that giving him 210 touches was too few given how electric he was out of the backfield. 

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A big reason the 49ers are playing for a Super Bowl is because of Christian McCaffrey. The star running back put together another sensational season where he led the NFL with 2,023 yards from scrimmage and 21 total touchdowns. When he is in the backfield, the San Francisco offense becomes legendary.

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It was a strong year for the Seahawks’ first-round rookie. He was deployed all over Seattle’s defense as a traditional corner, but also was strong at rushing the quarterback, finishing the year with three sacks. He also had 16 pass breakups and an interception, and he allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete just 58.3% of their targets against him. 

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Maybe the biggest Pro Bowl snub of the 2023 season, the 25-year-old was stellar from wire-to-wire playing in all 17 of Tampa Bay’s regular season games. He totaled a career-high 122 tackles and six sacks while also leading the league with six forced fumbles. On top of that, he had 12 pass breakups and three interceptions, which led to a first-team All-Pro nod. He was the backbone of the Buccaneers defense.  

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The Titans didn’t have a good offensive line in 2023, but that didn’t matter much for Derrick Henry. The veteran back still put up strong totals and continued to be the focal point of Tennessee’s offense. His 1,381 yards from scrimmage were the fourth most of his career. While his future with the Titans is in doubt, he still proved to be a capable centerpiece of the offense. 

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Is there a more underrated wide receiver in the NFL than Terry McLaurin? The fifth-year veteran continues to produce with less than ideal quarterback play and 2023 was no exception. But those numbers don’t even do justice to McLaurin’s impact on the offense. That said, with another thousand-yard season, McLaurin became the first player in franchise history to cross that threshold in four straight years. 

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