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NFL Relaxes Jersey Number Restrictions, So Who’s Changing Their Number?

As of April 21st, 2021, the NFL has eased back on their jersey number restrictions. Before this, each position had a somewhat limited number of jersey numbers to choose from. Last season, the Kansas City Chiefs actually ran out of numbers in the 20-49 range. This shortage is what propelled them to propose the rule change to NFL owners. The rule change has officially passed so let’s take a look at what numbers each position can now wear.

  • Quarterbacks – 1-19
  • Runningbacks – 1-49, 80-89
  • Wide Receivers – 1-49, 80-89
  • Tight Ends – 1-49, 80-89
  • Offensive Line – 50-79
  • Defensive Line – 50-79, 90-99
  • Linebackers – 1-59, 90-99
  • Defensive Backs – 1-49
  • Kickers/Punters – 1-49, 80-89

The NFL is often referred to as the “No Fun League” but this rule change might help add a little fun for jersey lovers. There is one catch for players trying to change their number – they have to buy out the NFL’s inventory of the jerseys they had already made featuring their old number. Players who recently were traded or signed with a new team are more likely to change their number since the NFL hasn’t created any jerseys for them. NFL rookies will share that same luxury. Expect to see plenty of single-digit numbers on the field this season!

Here are a few confirmed changes so far this offseason.

Leonard Fournette 28 -> 7

This is the 3rd number Leonard Fournette has worn in his NFL career. He wore #27 with the Jaguars, #28 for his first season with the Bucs, and is now making the switch back to his LSU number, #7.

Patrick Peterson 21 -> 7

Patrick Peterson wore the #21 during his 10-year tenure with the Cardinals. He recently signed with the Vikings and has decided to go back to the number he wore in college at LSU, #7.

Budda Baker 32 -> 3

This is already the 3rd number Budda Baker has worn in his 4 year career. He wore #36 as a rookie, #32 the last couple seasons, and is now switching to #3.

Robert Woods 17 -> 2

Robert Woods began his NFL career with the Bills in the #10. He joined the Rams in 2017 and selected the #17. Now, Robert Woods is officially making the switch to the #2 that he wore in college at UCLA.

Darius Slay 24 -> 2

Darius Slay has changed his number from #24 to #2. Photo via @PhiladelphiaEagles

Darius Slay began his career with the Lions wearing #30 and #23. Once Slay was moved to Philly, he selected the #24 to pay respect to long-time Eagles fan, Kobe Bryant. Now he will be rocking the #2 for the Eagles.

DJ Moore 12 -> 2

DJ Moore has played 3 seasons with the Panthers as #12. For this season, he is going to be switching to #2

Jason Verrett 22 -> 2

For the first 3 seasons of his career, Jason wore #22 with the Chargers. Then, for his first season with the Niners, he wore #27 but eventually made the switch back to #22. Now he’s going to stay with the 2’s and change his number to #2.

Noah Igbinoghene 23 -> 9

Last season was Noah’s rookie year and he wore the #23. Now in his 2nd season, he is going back to the #9 he wore in high school.

Emmanuel Sanders 17 -> 1

Emmanuel Sanders has a pretty long history of teams and various numbers. He began his career in Pittsburg wearing #88, wore #10 with the Broncos for 5 seasons, wore #17 for a year with both the Saints and 49ers, then #17 with the Bills and now #1.

Sterling Shepard 87 -> 3

Sterling Shepard has worn the #87 since he was drafted in 2016. He will now wear #3 to honor his late father who wore #3 in college. Shepard also wore #3 in college at Oklahoma.

Chase Edmunds 29 -> 2

Chase Edmunds was #29 for his first 2 seasons with the Cardinals. Chase will now be switching to #2.

Allen Hurns 17 -> 8

In Allen Hurns’ rookie season with the Jaguars, he wore #88. Then he played with both the Cowboys and Dolphins wearing #17. Now he will be making the switch to #8.

Parris Campbell 15 -> 1

Parris Campbell wore #15 for his rookie season with the Colts. Now the speedster will be wearing #1.

Patrick Queen 48 – > 6

Patrick Queen wore #48 for his rookie season with the Ravens. Queen wanted to represent the #8 he wore in high school and college but that number is taken by someone you may have heard of – Lamar Jackson. Queen will settle for #6 and will be wearing it this season.

Eddie Jackson 39 -> 4

Eddie Jackson has worn #39 since his rookie year in 2017. The 2x Pro Bowler will be wearing #4, the same number he wore in college at Alabama.

Damien Williams 26 -> 8

Damien Williams began his career in Miami as #36. He would eventually switch to #26 and wear it with the Chiefs and Bears. He will now wear #8.

KJ Hamler 13 -> 1

KJ Hamler wore #13 his rookie year with the Broncos. He will now be going back to the number he wore at Penn State, #1.

Desean Jackson 10 -> 1

Desean Jackson has worn 2 numbers during his 13 year NFL career. He wore #10 with the Eagles for 11 years, then #11 for 2 years with Washington, #11 for 2 years with the Bucs, then back to #10 with the Rams. Now he’ll be going back to the number he wore in both high school and college, #1.

Jordan Fuller 32 -> 4

Jordan Fuller wore #32 for his rookie year with the Rams and will now be wearing the same #4 he wore in college at Ohio State.

Albert Wilson 15 -> 2

Albert Wilson began his career in Kansas City repping #12 and switched to #15 after joining the Dolphins. Now he will be going back to his roots, wearing the same #2 he wore in college at Georgia State.

Will Fuller 15 -> 3

Will Fuller wore #15 during his 4-year tenure with the Houston Texans. Now in Miami, he will be wearing #3.

Quandre Diggs 37 -> 6

Quandre Diggs began his career in Detroit wearing the #28. Then once he joined the Seahawks in 2019, he began repping #37. For this season, he will be wearing #6.

Marquise Brown 15 -> 5

Marquise Brown wore #15 for the entirety of his rookie season. For his second season, Marquise is switching back to the number he wore in college at Oklahoma, #5.

James Conner 30 -> 6

James Conner wore #30 for his first 4 seasons in Pittsburgh. Now James is entering his 5th season as an Arizona Cardinal. He will be wearing #6.

Jaylon Smith 54 -> 9

When drafted to the NFL, Jaylon selected #54 because 5+4=9. Now that the number rules have been eased back, Jaylon can go back to his special #9 he wore in high school and at Notre Dame.

Jalen Mills 21 -> 2

Jalen Mills is known as one of the swaggiest guys in the league so, of course he had to switch to a single digit. He wore #21 with the Eagles last season and will now wear #2 with the Patriots.

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