The floodgates are open for players to embrace a new universe of numbers. For some, the water will be very expensive.
Now that the door is open for players to wear numbers that previously weren’t available, players who want to immediately change numbers must deal with one important caveat. They must buy all remaining inventory of unsold jerseys with the player’s current number.
More specifically, and per multiple sources, the players must purchase — at retail prices — the remaining Fanatics supply.
Per a source with knowledge of the situation, Vikings running back Dalvin Cook, who considered switching to No. 4, has decided to stick with No. 33 after learning the cost of his unsold jerseys. Per the source, the price tag fell in the range of $1.5 million.
This policy penalizes popular players, since at any given time it’s more likely that Fanatics will have on hand a stockpile of that player’s jersey. And it’s grossly unfair to expect the player to pay retail. At most, he should have to reimburse Fanatics for the production costs.
For players who don’t have much or any in the way of demand for his jersey, there won’t be much or any inventory of unsold jerseys. Which makes it easier for them to change numbers.
Meanwhile, teams don’t have to pay a dime when, for example, cutting a player or trading a player or changing their uniforms. In every case, there’s a supply of unsold jerseys that the team doesn’t have to buy.