Patriots

NFL jersey numbers 2021: Live updates on AFC East number changes

Patriots

An NFL rule change in April gave players more options for the number they can wear on the field -- but doing so comes with a price, literally. Some players are jumping at the opportunity to switch back to their beloved college digits or otherwise mix it up, while Tom Brady says he’s opposed to the idea. 

Here’s what you need to know about NFL players changing their numbers:

What does it cost for an NFL player to change his jersey number?

If a player wants to change his jersey number, he first has to purchase any unsold jerseys with his old number on them. Depending on how much inventory there is of his jersey, that could add up!

Dalvin Cook, for one, chose to stick with his No. 33 on the Minnesota Vikings because the price of his unsold jerseys was reportedly $1.5 million.

 

Teams, however, do not have to purchase existing inventory of a player’s jersey if they cut him.

Which NFL players are changing their jersey number?

Arizona Cardinals

All-Pro safety Budda Baker is making the switch from No. 32 to No. 3. He is well aware of the impact it could have on fans and showed his appreciation for people who have previously bought his merchandise.

Three other Cardinals announced switches: running back Chase Edmonds from No. 22 to No. 2, cornerback Byron Murphy from No. 33 to No. 7 and defensive tackle Rashard Lawrence from No. 92 to 90 (a move that was possible before the NFL's revised jersey rule went into effect). James Conner, after wearing No. 30 in Pittsburgh, will rep No. 6 in the desert.

Baltimore Ravens

Linebacker Patrick Queen announced that he'll switch from No. 48 to No. 6 for his second year.

On the offensive side, wide receiver Marquise "Hollywood" Brown is switching from No. 15 to No. 5, a number that has not been worn by a Raven since Joe Flacco left Baltimore after the 2018 season.

Buffalo Bills

Veteran wideout Emmanuel Sanders will wear No. 1 in Buffalo. It will be his fourth different jersey number and his fifth different team.

Carolina Panthers

Coming off back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, wide receiver D.J. Moore is going from No. 12 to No. 2.

Chicago Bears

Eddie Jackson became the first Bears player to take advantage of the new rule. He is making the move from No. 39 to No. 4, the same number he wore at Alabama. Newly acquired running back Damien Williams will wear No. 8 in Chicago after wearing No. 26 with the Kansas City Chiefs.

 

Dallas Cowboys

Linebacker Jaylon Smith is switching to No. 9 despite having to buy out his old No. 54 jerseys for a reported six-figure cost. He also reportedly got Tony Romo's blessing to take the QB's old number.

Denver Broncos

KJ Hamler is going back to his number from Penn State. The second-year wideout will wear No. 1 after donning No. 13 in his rookie season. Cornerback Michael Ojemudia will switch from No. 23 to No. 13.

Detroit Lions

Several veteran Lions are taking advantage of the new rules. Linebacker Jamie Collins is switching from No. 58 to No. 8, the number he wore at the University of Southern Mississippi. Elsewhere on defense, cornerbacks Quinton Dunbar and Mike Ford are taking Nos. 1 and 2, respectively.

On the offensive side of the ball, newly acquired wideout Tyrell Williams will wear No. 6.

Houston Texans

Mark Ingram will wear No. 2 on his third NFL team. The former Saints and Ravens running back went from No. 28 to start his NFL career to No. 22 while he was still in New Orleans before donning No. 21 in Baltimore.

Indianapolis Colts

Carson Wentz unveiled his new jersey number with an awesome gesture to Eagles superfan Giovanni Hamilton. The former Philadelphia QB will go from No. 11 to No. 2 in Indy.

Los Angeles Rams

Robert Woods prevailed in the battle for No. 2 on the Rams. Jalen Ramsey also wanted the number, but the wide receiver will be the one making the move from his No. 17.

Ramsey did make a switch from No. 20 though, debuting a No. 5 jersey at a Rams offseason workout.

A couple of other returning Rams made switches, with safety Jordan Fuller going from No. 32 to No. 4 and cornerback Darious Williams going from No. 32 to No. 4. Cam Akers is also changing from No. 23 to No. 3.

Wideout DeSean Jackson will also take advantage of the new rule with his new team and wear No. 1.

Miami Dolphins

Three Dolphins receivers are switching to single digits. Will Fuller will wear a new number on his second NFL team. After wearing No. 15 over the last five years in Houston, he will be No. 3 in Miami. Lynn Bowden Jr. is switching from No. 15 to No. 6 and Allen Hurns is switching from No. 17 to No. 8.

 

Minnesota Vikings

Patrick Peterson will sport a new number on his new team. After wearing No. 21 in his 10 years with the Cardinals, he will wear No. 7 -- the number he wore at LSU -- in Minnesota.

Peterson made a deal with second-year QB Nate Stanley, who previously held the number, for a good cause. The All-Pro cornerback will donate shoulder pads to Stanley’s high school alma mater in Wisconsin in exchange for the number. Stanley switched over to No. 14.

New England Patriots

Ja'Whaun Bentley became the first Patriots player to take advantage of the rule -- one Bill Belichick reportedly "hates." The linebacker is making the switch from No. 51, which he wore his first three years in Foxboro, to No. 8.

Cornerback Jalen Mills and linebacker Matt Judon, who joined the Pats in free agency, are also claiming single-digit numbers, taking No. 2 and No. 9, respectively.

Brandon Bolden will also be wearing a new number when he returns to the field in 2021 after opting out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns. He is switching from No. 38 to No. 25 to honor his grandfather, Frank Pitts, who won Super Bowl IV as a wide receiver on the Kansas City Chiefs.

New York Giants

Sterling Shepard is making the shift from the No. 87 he wore his first five NFL seasons to No. 3, the number both he and his late father wore at Oklahoma. Mike Glennon was originally expected to wear the number with the Giants. 

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles’ top two numbers are taken.

Cornerback Darius Slay wore No. 24 in his first year with the Birds to honor Kobe Bryant. Now, Slay will wear No. 2, the number Jalen Hurts wore in his rookie season. The move was made possible since Hurts made the switch from No. 2 to No. 1, just like he did on the QB depth chart for Philadelphia last season.

 

Quez Watkins is also switching his number from No. 80 to No. 16, a move that was allowable under the old rule.

San Francisco 49ers

Jason Verrett is trimming a digit off his old number, making the move from No. 22 to No. 2. Jaquiski Tartt is also making a switch in the secondary, going from No. 29 to No. 26.

Seattle Seahawks 

Quandre Diggs will be wearing the number both he and his brother, former NFL defensive back Quentin Jammer, wore with the Texas Longhorns, No. 6. He told The Athletic's "Seahawks Man 2 Man" podcast that he was deciding between No. 6 and No. 23, the number Jammer wore in the NFL, after wearing No. 37 in his first season with the Seahawks.

Carlos Dunlap is switching up his jersey number for the second time in the last year. The defensive end went from No. 96 to No. 43 after the Bengals traded him to the Seahawks last season, but will now wear No. 8.

Cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon will sport a new jersey and number in 2021. Witherspoon is trading in his No. 23 49ers jersey for a No. 2 Seahawks jersey.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Leonard Fournette does not share the same feelings towards the new rule as Brady does.

 

The Super Bowl champion running back is making the move from No. 28 to his college number, No. 7. The number represents the seventh ward in New Orleans, where he grew up.

"That's where I'm born and raised," Fournette told the team’s website. "That's just me. That's what I represent. I'm so big on giving back to where I'm from and it really represents how special that place is to me. I'm just grateful."

Tennessee Titans

Julio Jones was offered up the No. 11 by new Titans teammate and fellow receiver A.J. Brown, but Jones declined. Instead, the seven-time Pro Bowler will wear No. 2 with Tennessee.

Max Molski contributed to this story.