Cousins Talks With Shaq About JerseySwap, Finishing With The Falcons

It appears that incoming Atlanta Falcons quarterback Kirk Cousins and tight end Kyle Pitts‘ jersey situation was more complicated and potentially more costly than it appeared.

Just before Cousins was named officially as the Falcons’ newest starting passer, reports surfaced that Cousins was interested in Pitt’s #8 jersey, which he has worn since his arrival in Atlanta two years ago. Cousins offered to pay for the coveted jersey or make a charitable donation, but Pitts asked for more targets next season instead, as a joke.

Cousins wore #8 since he played for the Washington Commanders and his last team, the Minnesota Vikings.

On Shaquille O’Neal‘s podcast “The Big Pod”,  Cousins said that he couldn’t swap the number eight Falcons jersey from current holder Pitts because doing so meant buying up thousands of Pitt’s #8 jerseys currently on the market.

“He [Pitts] wanted to switch numbers anyways, so it was a perfect fit,” Cousins told O’Neal. “He was like, I want to switch numbers, you want #8, so it was perfect.”

Apparently, when it comes to swapping numbers on official jerseys, NFL rules say that either the swapper (in this case, Cousins) and the swap-ee (Pitts) must purchase every jersey with Pitt’s #8 on it. With thousands of Pitts #8 jerseys in circulation, they would both have to put up a lot of money to buy “every single one” of those jerseys, which neither one was willing to do.

“Both of us would have to write the check, It was several hundred thousand. So I was like, I’m good with 18 [the number he will be wearing as Falcons starting quarterback.] And Kyle was like, I’m good with 8.”

Now that the jersey controversy is settled, Cousins told Shaq that he plans to finish his career as a Falcon.

“I’m gonna be committed to doing everything I can to help us win a world championship,” Cousins said. “I want this to be my final stop. I don’t want to play for the [Phoenix] Suns and the [Boston] Celtics at the end [referring to Shaq’s former teams as an NBA star]. I want to finish with the [Miami] Heat if you will.”