Eric Decker has worn the No. 87 jersey since his NFL career began when the Broncos selected him with the 87th overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft. Eighty-seven is important to him.
So important, in fact, that when Decker signed with the Jets he quickly approached teammate Jeff Cumberland about giving up the No. 87, which Cumberland has worn for the last four years. And now Decker got the number: Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News reports that Cumberland agreed to give up the 87 jersey for $25,000 and a steak dinner.
Cumberland entered the NFL as an undrafted rookie making the league minimum and recently signed a three-year, $3.7 million contract. Decker signed a five-year, $36.25 million contract, so $25,000 means less to him than it does to Cumberland, who will now wear No. 85.
Players buying numbers from each other is commonplace in the NFL, but it sometimes leads to trouble: Former Washington teammates Clinton Portis and Ifeanyi Ohalete ended up in court when Portis didn’t pay the full $40,000 he had promised for Ohalete’s jersey number. Former Giants punter Jeff Feagles said Plaxico Burress stole his number and never paid the money he agreed to pay. And Donovan McNabb initially declined to give a promised charitable donation to fulfill a deal for ex-teammate Chris Kluwe’s jersey number, although Kluwe said McNabb did eventually pay up.
Here’s hoping Cumberland gets both his cash and his steak before trouble arises.