The 2022 Comeback Player of the Year is Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith. While this award typically goes to a player that is coming back from injury, that isn’t the case for Smith. He got a fresh start in Seattle after a tough start to his career, and he made the most of it.
Smith took home 28 first-place votes and finished with 171 total points. 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey finished second, claiming 12 first-place votes and 110 total points. Giants running back Saquon Barkley claimed four first-place votes, and other first-place vote-getters included Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham (2), Giants center Nick Gates (2), Lions quarterback Jared Goff (1), and Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt (1).
Comeback player of the Year: Seahawks QB Geno Smith
Smith was drafted in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the New York Jets. He started all 16 games in his rookie year but only logged one more season of starts in 2014. After that, he didn’t start more than five games in a season all the way through the 2021 season. Smith even was away from the NFL in 2019 because of the direction his career took.
He responded by competing in the preseason for the starting quarterback job after the team traded away Russell Wilson. Smith won the gig and started all 17 games for Seattle. He completed 69.8% of his passes for 4,282 yards with 30 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. The season may not have gone the way the team hoped for, but Smith’s bounce back was impressive and helped to right the ship of his career.
Odds movement this season
Derrick Henry was +400 favorite heading into Week 1 before the race shifted between the New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley and the Seattle Seahawks QB Geno Smith by midseason. By the month of November, Barkley had odds listed at +140 with Smith listed at -125. As of January 8, Barkley had +250 odds, Smith was listed at +165, and San Francisco 49ers RB Christian McCaffrey had equal odds at +165.