Kirk Cousins explains why he is switching numbers with Falcons

Quarterback Kirk Cousins will wear No. 18 with the Atlanta Falcons as opposed to the No. 8 he had worn dating back to high school, and there’s a good reason for it.

Kirk Cousins. Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Although tight end Kyle Pitts was willing to surrender No. 8 in exchange for more “ targets,” current NFL rules effectively prevented any sort of trade. The pair would have had to shell out hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy up previously purchased Pitts jerseys, and neither were having that.

Cousins explained the situation during a recent appearance on Shaquille O’Neal’s “The Big Podcast.”

“He wanted to switch numbers anyways, so it was a perfect fit. He was like, I want to switch numbers, you want No. 8, so it was perfect,” Cousins said. “And then the league spoke on it. It was like, ‘Kyle Pitts has a lot of jerseys that are No. 8 with Pitts on the back. You would have to buy every single one.’ Both of us would have to write the check. It was several hundred thousand. So I was like, ‘I’m good with 18.’ And Kyle was like, ‘I’m good with 8.’ So we’re going with 8 and 18.”

Even after signing a four-year, $180 million contract with Atlanta, the cost was entirely too high for Cousins.

No. 18 will be the third different jersey Kirk Cousins has sported in his NFL career. He wore No. 12 during his first two seasons in Washington before being able to switch over to his traditional No. 8, which carried over through his six-year tenure with the Minnesota Vikings.

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