NFL jersey numbers: Odell Beckham Jr., Stefon Diggs among 20 big names who could change under new rule

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For years, NFL players have been limited to certain jersey numbers based on their position. In 2021, however, that will change. A new proposal from the Kansas City Chiefs that called for relaxing the jersey number rules was passed by NFL owners this week. Now, running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, linebackers and defensive backs will be able to wear single digit numbers.

According to ESPN’s Kevin Seifert, NFL rules will require a player to buy back existing inventory from jersey distributors if they wish to change their number this season. If the player waits until 2022 to change their number, they will not have to buy back any inventory. It’s a proposition that players are excited about, as many NFL stars wore single-digit numbers while in college. Which NFL players can we expect a change in numbers from this year? We’ll get to that, but first, here are the numbers available by post. (Note: * indicates that the numbers would not be affected by the proposal):

  • QB: 1-19 *
  • RB, WR, TE: 1-49, 80-89
  • OL: 50-79 *
  • DL: 50-79, 90-99 *
  • KG: 1-59, 90-99
  • BD: 1-49
  • Ks, Ps: 1-19 *

Now, here are 20 notable players who could be in the running for major jersey changes:

Current number: 33
New potential number: 4

Cook looks good at 33, but he beat the single-digit number in Florida State and high school. We bet he would jump at the chance to claim his old number, especially since no one else is using it in Minnesota.

Want privileged access to the NFL from an active player and conversations with VIP guests? Download and subscribe to All Things Covered with Patrick Peterson and Bryant McFadden as they discuss Peterson’s desire to wear a single-digit number.

Current number: 21
New potential number: 15

Zeke made a name for himself at Ohio State, where he rocked what has long been reserved for QBs and NFL special teams. Why not rekindle his Buckeye roots for the second half of his career?

Current number: 41
New potential number: 6

Kamara already has a unique number for a running back, but he wore number 6 in Tennessee and in high school. There’s also never been a better time to turn back the clock, as longtime punter Thomas Morstead, former No.6, has left this offseason.

Current number: 14
New potential number: 1

He made No.14 look cool in both Minnesota and Buffalo, but before that, Diggs embodied his spectacular game with No.1 in Maryland and high school. No one occupies the first digit with the bills as we speak.

Current number: 13
New potential number: 3

Remember when Odell scared the masses when he tweeted about a “second act” this offseason? What if he was referring to a return to his LSU and high school number? It would be a fitting rebirth for his return to Cleveland.

Current number: 18
New potential number: 3

He’s still relatively fresh on the scene, but he probably only took 18 because his high school number, No.8, wasn’t available. Meanwhile, he wore No.3 in Alabama and would look especially good on passes from No.2 Matt Ryan.

Current number: 13
New potential number: 3

Wil Lutz currently holds number 3 in New Orleans, but we’re pretty sure Thomas could buy it for him. The wideout swung the digit to single digits during its breakthrough at Ohio State.

Current number: ten
New potential number: 6

Hopkins looks damn good at # 10, which is as close to the numbers as you could get before the potential rule changes. But he wore number 6 in Clemson, before being a big name in the entire league.

Current number: 54
New potential number: 9

Wouldn’t it be weird to see Wagner and his 240-pound executive plug the middle with a single number? He made it to Utah State. Why not look back on the good old days while enjoying the second half of his career in Seattle?

Current number: 53
New potential number: ten

Before becoming an NFL tackle machine, Leonard rocked 10 in South Carolina State and high school. It’s also early enough in his professional career that he can still build his legacy around his original number.

Current number: 55
New potential number: 11

I wonder why Barr went for the double digit number in the 1950s when he got out of UCLA? Because he was originally No. 11 with the Bruins. He is well advanced in his career, but the number is open in Minnesota.

Current number: 54
New potential number: 4

David just won a Super Bowl with his only NFL number, but he’s just signed a two-year deal that could keep him in Tampa Bay until he retires. But what better way to ring in his post-title run than with a return to his Nebraska number?

Current number: 20
New potential number: 8

He has always been quick to turn the tide, if given the chance, and NBC Sports’ Peter King reports he’s already interested in reverting to his Florida state number. It looks like a lock.

Current number: 24
New potential number: 5

Whether or not he returns to New England, Gilmore seems to be headed for a new chapter: it might be on a new contract, maybe in a new team. So there’s no better time to embrace the single-digit number he wore in South Carolina and in high school.

Current number: 27
New potential number: 18

Before becoming a lockdown cover model at Buffalo, White rocked the coveted No.18 jersey at LSU. After quarterback Matt Mauck led the Tigers to their first national football championship after a 45-year draft in 2003, Mauck’s number 18 was passed on to players who embody success and be an LSU football player. White was honored by tradition during his tenure as Tiger, wearing the No.18 from 2015 to 2016 before being drafted 27th overall by the Bills in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Current number: 21
New potential number: 7

The timing couldn’t be more perfect: Peterson has just started his first season with a team other than the Cardinals, and he burst onto the stage at LSU wearing the No.7. Vikings youth quarterback Nate Stanley wears it. currently, but seniority wins here.

Current number: 23
New potential number: 2

Jameis Winston is currently No.2 in New Orleans, but he could also have to change, now that he’s set to replace Drew Brees and start a new era for his own career and the Saints franchise. Lattimore, meanwhile, took it to Ohio State and high school.

Current number: 23
New potential number: ten

Alexander built his reputation as a fiery wedge while rocking the No.10 in Louisville. However, that would require convincing QB Jordan Love to drop his own number – unlikely, but not impossible given that he has yet to define his legacy in the NFL.

S Antoine Winfield Jr. (The Buccaneers)

Current number: 31
New potential number: 11

Winfield just finished a promising rookie year in the 1930s, but came out of Minnesota wearing the number 11.

Current number: ten
New potential number: 4

Jeudy is coming off a rookie season in which he caught 52 passes for 856 yards and three touchdowns. Like all of the players listed above, Jeudy could regain his No.4 varsity jersey number, which he rocked in Alabama when he netted 24 combined touchdowns in his last two seasons.



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