Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith is taking advantage of the NFL’s new number policy. He will have a new jersey number for the 2021 NFL season, and it will cost him a pretty penny to acquire it.
According to ESPN’s Todd Archer, Smith’s decision to switch from his No. 54 jersey to his desired No. 9 jersey will come with a “mid-six-figure cost,” as he’ll have to buy out the entire inventory of his No. 54 jerseys and T-shirts currently available for sale.
Had Smith waited until 2022, he wouldn’t have had to pay a dime to make the switch. But apparently, he wants the number badly enough that the cost doesn’t matter.
Of course, the No. 9 jersey is a familiar one to Cowboys fans, as it’s the number Tony Romo wore during his 14-year career in Dallas. Romo ended his career as the all-time Cowboys leader in passing yards (34,183) and passing touchdowns (248) while winning 78 games, the third-most in Cowboys history behind Troy Aikman (94) and Roger Staubach (85).
Per Archer, Smith reached out to Romo before making the switch to clear it with him. Evidently, Romo gave Smith his blessing to take the number.
When the potential for a number policy change was first mentioned in early April, Smith expressed an interest in wearing the No. 9 in an Instagram story seen below. He wore the No. 9 in high school and at Notre Dame, so bringing it back at the NFL level would only be natural.
It’s possible the NFL soon allows linebackers (and other positions) to have jersey numbers in the single digits.
Dallas Cowboys LB Jaylon Smith posted on his Instagram story that he would like to wear number 9 if that is the case.
Jaylon wore 9 at Notre Dame and in high school. pic.twitter.com/g3EyGWI7WL
— RJ Ochoa (@rjochoa) April 6, 2021
Thus, it’s no surprise that Smith went after the single-digit jersey. But it certainly will be interesting to see how the Cowboys faithful react to seeing another player in Romo’s jersey just four years after his retirement.