Change is continuing to come to the NFL in the 2021 season.
After announcing that the 2021 season will now have 17 regular season games, the NFL reportedly is expected to pass a rule that will have less restriction on the jersey numbers that players can wear.
The NFL appears to be going with a jersey structure similar to the college game with number ranges for defensive backs, linebackers, running backs and wide receivers into the single digits, and quarterbacks remaining at Nos. 1-19:
Running backs, wide receivers, tight ends: 1-49, 80-89
Offensive linemen: 50-79
Defensive linemen: 50-79, 90-99
Linebackers: 1-59, 90-99
Defensive backs: 1-49
Kickers and punters: 1-19
Some franchise cornerstones have become synonymous with their current number, but it is still fun to imagine them in some new threads in the upcoming campaign.
Here are five Seattle Seahawks who may take advantage of the potential rule change:
Current jersey number: 54 | Potential 2021 number: 9
It is hard to imagine Bobby Wagner patrolling the middle of the Seattle defense in anything but No. 54, but the seven-time Pro Bowler did wear No. 9 in college at Utah State. It would certainly take some getting used to for Seahawks fans to watch, even though Wagner’s production probably won’t change no matter the number he is sporting.
Current jersey number: 29 | Potential 2021 number: 2
A former fifth-round pick by the 49ers, Reed had a breakout season for the Seahawks in 2020. He appeared in 10 games, starting eight and totaled seven passes defended and two interceptions.
Reed will likely have an even bigger role in Seattle’s secondary following the departure of Shaquill Griffin, and he could do it with a new number. Reed wore No. 2 in college at Kansas State and may want to go back to his roots next season.
Current jersey number: 56 | Potential 2021 number: 1
Second-year linebacker Jordyn Brooks showed why Seattle drafted him in the first round last season out of Texas Tech by totaling 57 tackles in 14 games (six starts). While starring at Texas Tech, Brooks wore No. 1 and it is possible that he and Wagner could form a single-digit duo in Seattle’s linebacker room.
Current jersey number: 37 | Potential 2021 number: 6
Quandre Diggs has proven to be one of the better trade acquisitions made by general manager John Schneider. The University of Texas product currently dons No. 37 for the Seahawks, but with the rule change, he could revert back to the No. 6, which he wore his sophomore, junior and senior seasons at Texas.
Diggs had five interceptions last season for Seattle, and maybe the No. 6 will give him a new goal to aim for in that category in 2021.
Current jersey number: N/A | Potential 2021 number: 12, 15
The newest member of Seattle’s offense hasn’t formally chosen a number with Seattle, but Gerald Everett has worn No. 81 through his NFL career. He could potentially look to start fresh with a new number in Seattle regardless, and it is possible that he reverts back to his time at UAB, where he wore No. 15, or South Alabama, where he wore the No. 12.
And a former Seahawk who could have benefited from this rule change:
Career number: 24 | Number under rule change: 10
Who else did you think could win this category? Before he tortured NFL defenses and became Beast Mode, Marshawn Lynch was spotted wearing No. 10 for the California Golden Bears. While the No. 24 is iconic amongst Seahawk fans, Lynch would have likely stayed with his collegiate number if given the change under the league's proposed jersey rule change.
Peter Dewey contributed to this story.