Cowboys: Jaylon Smith switching to controversial number in a critical year

Jaylon Smith will rock a new number for the Dallas Cowboys this upcoming NFL season.

After wearing the No. 54 jersey for the Dallas Cowboys the last several seasons, outside linebacker Jaylon Smith is switching to a number he is familiar with, but one that could be controversial in some Dallas circles.

Smith will pay six figures to buy out his remaining No. 54 inventory from the NFL to rock the same jersey he wore in college at Notre Dame: No. 9. While it is cool and all for him to wear a jersey he was comfortable with and starred for in with the Golden Domers, this number is most closely associated with former Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. How should fans feel about it?

While he does have Romo’s blessing to wear the No. 9, this is a bold move for Smith to make here.

Dallas Cowboys: Jaylon Smith will wear Tony Romo’s No. 9 jersey in 2021

“It’s about value over cost,” said Smith. “Definitely a blessing being able to play for the Dallas Cowboys, so working out the terms the right way. Really, I’m just thankful to be in the No. 9 and have an opportunity to turn this thing around this year. We’re all here focused. We’re locked in, and we know what we need to accomplish.”

While this is a jersey that Smith had worn his entire life up to be drafted by the Cowboys, it is highly controversial to take the number most closely associated with a popular player like Romo, a former undrafted free agent out of Eastern Illinois who played his entire NFL career with the Cowboys. Smith may be down with carrying on the legacy of No. 9, but that is a lot of pressure.

And it is not just a big year for Smith, it is a huge year for the Cowboys. Their defense stunk a season ago and could not even win the truly awful NFC East with a sub-.500 record. Head coach Mike McCarthy needs to win or he is going to get canned. His seat is probably hotter right now than any head coach in football. Hopefully, Smith and company can pop in Dan Quinn’s defense.

Paying a premium for a beloved jersey number is fine and all, but you need to prioritize winning.

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