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


For years, NFL players have been restricted to certain jersey numbers based on their position. In 2021, however, that will change. A new Kansas City Chiefs proposal that called for relaxed 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 digits.

According to ESPN’s Kevin Seifert, NFL rules will require a player to repurchase 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 inventory. It’s a proposition that has players excited, as many NFL stars wore single-digit numbers while in college. Which NFL players could we expect a number change this year? We’ll get to that, but first, here are the numbers available by post. (Note: * indicates numbers would not be affected by the proposal):

  • QBs: 1-19*
  • RB, WR, TE: 1-49, 80-89
  • OL: 50-79*
  • LD: 50-79, 90-99*
  • KG: 1-59, 90-99
  • DB: 1-49
  • Ks, Ps: 1-19*

Now, here are 20 notable players who could be in line for major shirt changes:

Current number: 33
Potential new number: 4

Cook looks good at 33, but he shook single digits at Florida State and in 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 inside access to an active player’s NFL and conversations with VIP guests? Download and subscribe at All Things Covered with Patrick Peterson and Bryant McFadden as they discuss Peterson’s desire to wear a single digit number.

Current number: 21
Potential new number: 15

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

Current number: 41
Potential new number: 6

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

Current number: 14
Potential new number: 1

He made No. 14 look cool in both Minnesota and Buffalo, but before that, Diggs epitomized his showy game with No. 1 in Maryland and high school. No one is in the top number with the bills as we speak.

Current number: 13
Potential new number: 3

Remember when Odell spooked 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 revival for his return to Cleveland.

Current number: 18
Potential new number: 3

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

Current number: 13
Potential new number: 3

Wil Lutz currently owns No. 3 in New Orleans, but we’re pretty sure Thomas could buy it from him. The broad rocked the single digit during his breakout at Ohio State.

Current number: ten
Potential new number: 6

Hopkins looks damn good in No. 10, which is as close to a number as you can get before the potential rule changes. But he wore number 6 at Clemson, before being a huge name in the whole league.

Current number: 54
Potential new number: 9

Wouldn’t it be strange to see Wagner and his 240-pound frame plugging the middle with a single number? He did it in the state of Utah. Why not reminisce about the good old days while enjoying behind the scenes of his Seattle career?

Current number: 53
Potential new number: ten

Before becoming an NFL tackle machine, Leonard made 10 at South Carolina State and in high school. He’s also early enough in his professional career to still be able to build his legacy around his original number.

Current number: 55
Potential new number: 11

Ever wonder why Barr went for the double digits in the ’50s when he graduated from UCLA? Because he was originally 11th with the Bruins. He’s good in his career, but the number is open in Minnesota.

Current number: 54
Potential new number: 4

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

Current number: 20
Potential new number: 8

He was always quick to turn the tide, given the chance, and NBC Sports’ Peter King reports he is already interested in returning to his Florida State number. It looks like a lock.

Current number: 24
Potential new number: 5

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

Current number: 27
Potential new number: 18

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

Current number: 21
Potential new number: seven

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

Current number: 23
Potential new number: 2

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

Current number: 23
Potential new number: ten

Alexander built his reputation as a feisty corner while wearing No. 10 in Louisville. However, that would require convincing QB Jordan Love to drop his own number — unlikely, but not impossible given he’s yet to define his NFL legacy.

S Antoine Winfield Jr. (buccaneers)

Current number: 31
Potential new number: 11

Winfield is coming off a promising rookie year in the 1930s, but he came out of Minnesota wearing No. 11.

Current number: ten
Potential new 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 return to his No. 4 varsity jersey number, which he rocked at Alabama when he caught a combined 24 touchdowns over his past two seasons.

Previous 2021 NFL jersey update: Bengals unveil new uniforms for 2021 season
Next Tom Brady denounces NFL jersey number rule: "Dumb"