C.J. Stroud's Houston Texans teammates may hold him back in the MVP race

C.J. Stroud is great, but one aspect of the team may take him out of the MVP race.
Indianapolis Colts v Houston Texans
Indianapolis Colts v Houston Texans / Bob Levey/GettyImages

There's a lot of talk over C.J. Stroud being an MVP candidate for the 2024 season. On one hand, I do believe he was the most valuable player for the Texans in 2023, as evidenced by how bad the Texans were without him. Yet, I do think we're putting too much pressure on him to ascend to the top echelons of the NFL so quickly. He's very talented, but still very young.

I think he could be the league's Most Valuable Player, absolutely, I just don't think that's the level of expectation that should be had for him right now. If he has similar numbers to last season, he won't win the MVP but he'll be everything the team needs him to be. That's the level that the Texans should be hoping for. Competing for the MVP is usually a jump that's made under unique circumstances and with specific stat lines being met. It happens organically.

You can't force it. Sadly for Stroud, there's a good chance he doesn't win the MVP this year, and for pretty obvious reasons; his wide receivers. This isn't some subtle knock on the talent around him. He's got Dalton Schultz, Stefon Diggs, Tank Dell, and Nico Collins, among whoever else. They are loaded.

Maybe too loaded to prove his value. See, the voting for the MVP can get funky. If you play well but don't have enough talent around you, people claim you "can't make players better". This is an impossible ask, as you're either a good player or not. How you're used can change, but you're not going to be "better" just because someone around you plays well. You'll produce more, but you won't be "better".

On the other hand, having too much talent brings into question your abilities as a whole. If you have a major season, people may look to your teammates as a reason for why you were so successful, thus negating much of the impact you've had on the game yourself. If Stroud throws for more than 4,500 yards, nearly 40 touchdowns, and dominates the game, some will point to the talent around him as why, and thus devalue the significance of Stroud's season.

It's an unwinnable argument, and it has cost some guys, like Christian McCaffery, the MVP award in the past. Now, the Texans' young quarterback will be met with an endless amount of talking heads, making half-baked arguments in bad faith. All to generate clicks. It'll be a miracle if Stroud has a great season and gets the rightful credit he deserves for it.