Deciding the top comeback players of the year is always difficult. Many factors come into play, which means there will be many factors to argue with. You’ll see a lot of people decrying “snubs” in this category and usually with good reasoning. But, we are down to three players, all deserving for a nomination.
Comeback Player of the Year finalists
RB Saquon Barkley, Giants
Barkley tore his ACL in 2020 and missed most of the season. In 2021 he missed three games and had the worst season of his career, rushing 162 times for 593 total yards and two touchdowns on a 3.7 yards per carry average. He turned that around big time in 2022, rushing 295 times for 1,312 yards and 10 touchdowns, while catching 57 passes for 338 yards.
RB Christian McCaffrey, 49ers
McCaffrey had back-to-back season in 2020-2021 where he ended up playing a total of 10 games due to injuries. He turned that around in a big way this season, as he totaled 1,880 yards and 13 touchdowns between his time with the Panthers and 49ers. Nobody doubted CMC could get back on track, but some probably doubted he could put a healthy season together again.
QB Geno Smith, Seahawks
The most surprising player on this list is Smith. Coming into this season many believed Drew Lock would win the job over Smith after the Seahawks traded Russell Wilson to the Broncos, but Smith had other things in mind. Smith ended up leading the Seahawks, who looked dead in the water after the trade, to the playoffs. A quick loss in the playoffs hurt, but doesn’t diminish the remarkable season Smith put together.
Out of this group, Smith has the least eye-popping numbers, but he led the league in completion percentage at 69.8%, and threw for 4,282 yards, 30 TDs to 11 interceptions. He should be the frontrunner.