Dozens of NFL players have made the decision to change their jersey numbers for the 2021 season, and we can now add pass-rusher Matt Judon to that list. On Tuesday, the New England Patriots announced new jersey numbers for some of their veterans, which included Judon ditching his former No. 99 jersey for No. 9.
The former Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker inked a four-year, $56 million deal at the very beginning of free agency, and was a part of the mad dash Bill Belichick orchestrated at the start of the NFL's legal tampering period. Judon was considered one of the top players at his position in free agency, and is coming off of his second consecutive Pro Bowl season. The Ravens placed the franchise tag on Judon last offseason, and he recorded 50 combined tackles, six sacks and two passes defensed in 14 games played. He was originally selected by the Ravens in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft out of Grand Valley State, where he wore No. 9. Judon has recorded 34.5 sacks and 236 combined tackles in 76 NFL career games played.
Another new Patriot opting to take advantage of the new jersey rule passed by NFL owners is former Philadelphia Eagles defensive back Jalen Mills, who will now apparently wear No. 2. According to ESPN's Kevin Seifert, NFL rules will force a player to buy out the existing inventory of jersey distributors if he wants to change his number this season. If the player waits until 2022 to change his number, he would not have to buy out any inventory. Then again, if a player is changing teams this offseason, this rule may not apply to them.
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