JuJu Smith-Schuster, the new wide receiver for the New England Patriots, is making headlines for all the wrong reasons. The NFL has a rule that requires players who change numbers to purchase all the unsold jerseys already printed with their old number and name.
Unfortunately for Smith-Schuster, this rule has put him in an uncomfortable situation.
The number he desires, 9, is currently worn by 4-time Pro Bowler, Matthew Judon. The cost of buying out all the unsold jerseys and compensating Judon for the number would be upwards of $100,000, a price tag that 2017 Pittsburgh Steelers draft is unwilling to pay.
New #Patriots WR JuJu Smith-Schuster says he won't pay the $100K it would cost to wear the No. 9 jersey, which is currently worn by 4x Pro Bowler Matt Judon in New England.
— MLFootball (@_MLFootball) March 23, 2023
Smith-Schuster, ever the practical one, has weighed his options. He has come to the conclusion that buying out Judon’s jersey inventory and compensating him for the number would be a financial burden he simply cannot bear.
“When you’re on the same team and you have the same number and if you change it, you have to pay the fee for the rest of that jersey and then whatever new number you get, you’ve got to pay the inventory for that,” Smith-Schuster said, via the Kansas City-Star.
“And that’s a whole process. He’s probably going to have to ask for 100k, which I’m definitely not going to do.”
What number JuJu Smith-Schuster will take?
In the end, it appears that JuJu Smith-Schuster will have to find a new number to wear for the Patriots. The 26 years old has been hoping to continue sporting the number 9 that he wore during his time with Steelers. But the hefty price tag is simply too much for him to bear.
But the question remains – will the number change affect his game? Will the absence of his lucky number 9 be a hindrance? Or will the fresh start inspire him to new heights? Only time will tell. But one thing is for certain – JuJu Smith-Schuster is ready to make his mark on the Patriots.
Regardless of the number on his jersey, however, there’s no doubt that Smith-Schuster will bring his talent and passion to the field. He is ready to help the Patriots succeed in the upcoming season.