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NFL Rookies Can Corner the Single-Digit Jersey Number Market

Brian Giuffra
Ja'Marr Chase.
Ja'Marr Chase. / Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images
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If wearing single-digit jersey numbers is cool, consider Ja'Marr Chase "Miles Davis."

Obscure "Billy Madison" quotes aside, Chase insinuated on Twitter yesterday he'll be wearing No. 1 in the NFL following the league's decision to change a rule which previously prohibited skill position players from wearing single-digit numbers. It's the same number Chase wore in college and arguably the most desirable number any player can have on a football team.

Chase is the first rookie to make such a proclamation. He won't be the last. Rookies have a great chance to corner the single-digit jersey number market. You better believe they'll take advantage.

Per NFL rules, any current player who wants to change their number for the 2021 season must buy out the existing inventory of jerseys from distributors. Now I don't know what the price tag on that would be, but I imagine it's in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Rookies, meanwhile, don't have to play by those rules. They can choose whatever jersey number they want. And anyone who's played football knows single-digit numbers are the most desirable and reserved for the elite. It's why you see high school and college stars rocking those numbers. In fact, the last Heisman winner to wear a double-digit number was Mark Ingram in 2009. Since then, it's all single digits.

Basically what I'm getting at here is there's going to be a run on single-digit jersey numbers by these rookies. You can now wear a single-digit number in the NFL if you're a running back, wide receiver, tight end, linebacker or defensive back. You don't think all these rookies are going to be clamoring for those numbers? You're damn right they will be.

As for the vets, they'll have to pay a price for coolness. What that price is, I have no idea. But if they aren't willing to fork over the cash now, they can likely kiss their chances at the most desirable single-digit jersey numbers goodbye. Because the 2021 NFL rookie class is definitely going number hunting immediately.

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