The NFL MVP is a quarterback's award. Only nine times in the past 30 years has a player at a different position taken home the hardware, and eight of those were running backs, while only one was a defensive player -- Lawrence Taylor in 1986. With that in mind, we present a list of the most likely candidates to win NFL MVP in 2016, but don't worry -- we threw in a couple of long shots, as well.
Tom Brady, New England Patriots
The Patriots have won at least 10 games in each of the past 13 seasons, and have won at least 12 games in each of the past six. Brady is suspended for the first four games of 2016, but his Patriots will be there at the end just like they always are -- and if things go as expected, Brady will have as good a shot at the MVP as anyone else.
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Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
The Packers have made it to the playoffs for seven straight seasons, and are one of three teams favored by odds-makers to come out of the NFC in 2016. Rodgers is just one year removed from an MVP season in 2014, so it wouldn't at all be a stretch to see him return to form with this year's Green Bay squad.
Getty ImagesRonald Martinez
Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
Russell Wilson threw for 4,024 yards and 34 touchdowns last season, both of which were career highs. He also led the league in quarterback rating in 2015, so he definitely has the juice to get MVP consideration if the Seahawks outperform the competition.
Carson Palmer, Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals are once again expected to be one of the NFC's top teams this year, and Carson Palmer is more than capable of producing MVP-caliber numbers. Last season, he finished fourth in the league in passing yards with 4,671, his quarterback rating of 104.6 was good for third, and his 35 TD passes tied him for the league's second-best.
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Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers
The last person to win back-to-back NFL MVPs was Peyton Manning, who did it in both 2008-09 and in 2003-04. It wouldn't be a shock for Newton to do the same in 2016, especially since Carolina lost some of its best defensive players to free agency in the offseason. Newton tied for the second-most touchdown passes last season with 35, but he rushed for 10 more -- which made him the most difficult quarterback to defend in the entire league last year.
Getty ImagesGrant Halverson
Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers are coming off a trip to the divisional round of the playoffs last season, and many expect them to be in the postseason picture once again this year. Roethlisberger is just one year removed from leading the league in passing yards with 4,952 in 2014, and led the league in passing yards per game with an average of 328.2 in 2015.
APGene J. Puskar
Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders
If this is the year that the Raiders make the leap to the postseason, the play of Derek Carr will undoubtedly be a big reason. Oakland won just seven games last season, but Carr engineered comebacks in four of those victories -- a number which tied him for the league lead in that category.
Getty ImagesPeter G. Aiken
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts
Luck was limited to appearing in just seven games in 2015 due to injury, but he appears to be fully recovered, and that's bad news for NFL defenses. In 2014, Luck threw for a gaudy 4,761 yards and 40 touchdowns.
Getty ImagesAndy Lyons
Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings
Peterson was the last non-quarterback to win the MVP award when he did so back in 2012. Coming off a season where he led the league in both rushing attempts (327) and yards (1,485), he's as good a bet as any if you're looking for a running back to earn the honor in 2016.
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Chandler Jones, Arizona Cardinals
We told you we'd include a longshot or two, and Jones has the longest odds of the bunch. But he was on pace to record 19 sacks through his first nine games with the Patriots last season, and his Cardinals teammates believe he's in prime positon to get 20 or more with his new team this season. If that happens, and the Cardinals end up finishing near the top of the league-wide standings, it isn't crazy to believe that Jones could become the first defensive player to win NFL MVP since Lawrence Taylor did so 30 years ago.