JuJu Smith-Schuster estimates it’d cost $100k to get No. 9 with Patriots due to NFL rule

Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster had considered returning to Kansas City after helping the Chiefs win Super Bowl LVII, but he instead signed last week with the New England Patriots.

“This all day today and really last night was about the Patriots versus the Kansas City Chiefs,” Ian Rapoport said last week on the NFL Network after Smith-Schuster got a deal with New England. “I know he wanted to return to Kansas City, that’s kind of where his heart was.

“The Patriots pulled at him, too. They offered more money. That helps, plus the opportunity to kind of remake himself and rework himself and basically start a new legacy.”

Smith-Schuster was asked Tuesday on The Sports Hub’s Zolak and Bertrand Show if anything else enticed him to sign with New England, besides the three-year, $33 million contract he received.

“To be honest, it was (coach Bill) Belichick, man,” Smith-Schuster said. “Just the want and the need. And, you know, the position that I can fill there really, really caught my attention. And I felt that like that was most, feeling wanted in a place when I played against a head coach I have a lot of respect for. And I just think that that goes a long way.”

Smith-Schuster also talked about his new jersey number. He had worn No. 9 with the Chiefs and No. 19 with the Steelers. No. 9 is Smith-Shuster’s first choice, but that’s currently held by Patriots defensive end Matthew Judon.

Enticing Judon to switch numbers would be only part of the equation if Smith-Schuster were to get No. 9.

“When you’re on the same team and you have the same number and if you change it, you have to pay the fee for the rest of that jersey and then whatever new number you get, you’ve got to pay the inventory for that,” Smith-Schuster said. “And that’s a whole process.

“He’s probably going to have to ask for 100k, which I’m definitely not going to do.”

Smith-Schuster referenced a little-known NFL policy.

NBC Sports said the league dictates that a player who switches numbers must purchase the inventory of unsold jerseys.

Judon, who had 15 1/2 sacks last season, is a popular player, which could factor into that $100,000 price tag mentioned by Smith-Schuster. Judon jerseys are probably for sale in stores all around Boston.

“I probably wouldn’t go over 30k,” Smith-Schuster said.

In other words, look for Smith-Schuster to be wearing No. 19 with the Patriots.