Cook may nevertheless try to get it.
“I don’t know,” Cook said, via Jimmy Durkin of the San Jose Mercury News. “Me and [Cooper] are going to have to have a little conversation to see if I can get it off of him. Might have to bribe him a little bit, throw him like five bucks or something. We’ll see if I can get it off his back.”
Although it’s within the purview of a team to assign numbers, most NFL teams give the player who has been wearing the number dibs on keeping it. If a new player wants the number, it’s up to him to working something out with the guy who has it.
At one point, the NFL frowned upon the decision of popular players to change numbers, since there’s typically a supply of jerseys for sale with the player’s name and number that immediately become worthless.