New York Jets cornerback Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner has responded to claims that he paid an exhburhant fee in order to get his jersey number.
The New York Jets were one of the busiest teams when it came to the 2022 NFL Draft, making three picks in the first round with Ahmad Gardner being the fourth overall pick before later taking wide receiver Garrett Wilson #10 and Jermaine Johnson II #26.
Going that high in the draft means that there is a lot of expectation on his shoulders to help turn the franchise around, especially considering how bad the Jets were last year in the passing game, giving up 4,409 yards through the air.
But judging off his numbers in college, it looks as if he could be the man to make it happen, as he made 99 total tackles during his time with the Cincinnati Bearcats to add to 9 interceptions, 2 of which were pick-sixes.
Making the shirt his own
And perhaps in a symbolic gesture of wanting to bring his college abilities to the NFL, and also in a statement to show where he thinks he ranks amongst his position group in the league, Gardner has decided to stick with his college number #1 as his jersey number when with the Jets:
𝗛𝟭𝗠. . . pic.twitter.com/xZIiYd64ZJ— SAUCE (@iamSauceGardner) May 10, 2022
The jersey was set to be worn by fellow cornerback DJ Reed, who the Jets acquired in free agency this summer, however he has had to vacate that and take #4 instead.
A report from Barstool Sports had claimed that Gardner strongarmed his way to the number, offering Reed $250k for the privilege, however that appears not to be the case as Gardner responded to the claim on Twitter:
I know a Cincinnati outlet didn’t post this false information. Out of all people, y’all should know I’m not a goofy🤣 https://t.co/s0vbxidZua— SAUCE (@iamSauceGardner) May 10, 2022
How much is a number worth?
Although even if Gardner did pay that much, it certainly wouldn’t be out of the ordinary for players to have to fork out in order to get their preferred jersey number.
As per Uniswag there have been some rather interesting amounts that have changed hands over the sake of a number:
Deion Sanders #21 with the Dallas Cowboys – Brand new, metallic blue, BMW 325i
Eli Manning #10 with the New York Giants – All expenses paid trip to Florida
Erik Decker #87 with the New York Jets – $25,000 and a steak dinner.
Kellen Winslow #80 with the Cleveland Browns – $30,000 in suits, meals and vacations