If you look good, you feel good. And if you feel good, you play good, as Deion Sanders would say.
It’s a fitting mantra entering the 2023 NFL season, considering all the league’s uniform-related headlines: The Cardinals are debuting an all-new look, most players can now wear No. 0 jerseys for the first time in more than 50 years, and almost a half-dozen teams, including the Buccaneers and Eagles, are throwing it back to the 1980s with alternate retro uniforms.
In football, of course, results matter more than aesthetics. But there are few better indicators of an NFL team or player’s popularity than jersey sales, as evidenced by Aaron Rodgers’ new Jets threads flying off shelves after his trade. It’s fun to watch football because it’s fun to believe in the possibility of a championship run. And it’s fun to represent the stars who make it happen!
If you happen to be on the hunt for your next jersey, or you’re just curious which players around the league deserve more looks, we’re here to help. Without further ado, we present the 2023 NFL jersey buying guide, with one recommended player for fans of all 32 teams:
Budda Baker (3) and DeAndre Hopkins (10) are prepping to exit, Marquise Brown (2) is a question mark, and Kyler Murray (1) may miss a big chunk of 2023 before Arizona weighs a potential QB investment in the 2024 draft. That leaves just Zach Ertz and Conner as proven, albeit short-term fan favorites worth repping. The latter has at least been a touchdown machine when healthy.
Lots of young guns on both sides of the ball, which means projection is required. First-round pick Bijan Robinson is a decent candidate considering he’s got the sleek single digit (7) and profiles as a multipurpose weapon, but Pitts has already proven he can be a difference-making pass catcher at the NFL level.
Roquan Smith’s new No. 0 is a sleek alternative. But the Ravens are synonymous with Jackson, who’s got plenty to prove from a health and big-game standpoint but remains one of the NFL’s signature athletes. The fact he’s locked up on a lucrative new contract makes his long-popular jersey an even better play.
Most of the Bills’ defensive stalwarts, like Tre’Davious White, Jordan Poyer and Von Miller, are getting up there in age. Allen’s top target, Stefon Diggs, is a pretty easy sell as one of the game’s crispest route-runners, and despite rumors of discord, just signed an extension through 2026. But Allen remains the homegrown engine that makes the whole thing run.
You wouldn’t necessarily go wrong with a Brian Burns (53), who’s still underrated off the edge, but there isn’t much more of a slam-dunk, home-run pick than a No. 1 overall pick like Young, who brings so much hope to the QB spot coming out of Alabama. The small but poised rookie is the kind of franchise-changer you root for on and off the field.
No one will quibble with a Ja’Marr Chase (1), Tee Higgins (85) or even Tyler Boyd (83), but there’s just no such thing as having too many Joe Burrow jerseys floating around the Cincy area, where the 26-year-old QB has already proven to be a worthwhile rival to Patrick Mahomes and the world-beating Chiefs.
Nick Chubb has been just as steady as their offensive centerpiece, but Garrett plays a more premium position, is signed through 2026 and somehow still just 27. His absurd consistency as a pass rusher — a franchise-record 74.5 sacks in six years — means he’s already confirmed as an all-time Brown, too.
It’s a gamble, considering Fields has only really proven himself as an elite runner, but if the Bears are betting on him making a leap in 2023, then Bears fans can do the same. His new WR1, D.J. Moore (2), is a fine alternative, considering he’s already made it as a Pro Bowl-caliber pro, but Fields has the tools to be the catalyst of the whole operation.
As much attention as Dak Prescott and Mike McCarthy get in Dallas, this team is increasingly propelled by its live-wire defense, and Parsons has become a standard-bearer as a stand-up rusher in just two NFL seasons. Prescott’s play-making top target, CeeDee Lamb (88), is a fine alternative at just 24.
Sean Payton may revive Russell Wilson, but Broncos fans can bet on a soon-to-be 35-year-old QB coming off a career-worst season at their own risk. Surtain, on the other hand, is both young (just turned 23) and elite, emerging as a dominant cover man for their stingy defense in his first two seasons.
After a promising rookie year off the edge, hometown product Aidan Hutchinson (97) is equally as deserving. St. Brown is still underrated, however, and still on the rise as a dependable high-volume pass catcher for an increasingly explosive Lions offense. Just 23, he profiles as a long-term chain-mover.
Is it a gamble? Of course it is. But so was going all in on Aaron Rodgers almost two decades ago, when he took over for Brett Favre after years on the bench. If you’re a Packers fan, you embrace the high-risk, high-reward nature of Love’s takeover, and you hope his lively arm carries Green Bay into the future.
Rookie QB C.J. Stroud (7) has higher upside for the long term, and we all know running backs are more replaceable than most. Pierce was a wrecking ball in a promising rookie year, however, and new coach DeMeco Ryans figures to lean on him a lot while integrating Stroud to the NFL.
A running back with lots of wear and tear? Not ideal. But QB Anthony Richardson is an unknown and may not open his rookie year in the lineup. He’s a name to watch for 2024. Taylor, meanwhile, who’s still just 24 after three seasons as an offensive centerpiece, still makes big plays look effortless when healthy.
Kansas City Chiefs: Patrick Mahomes (15)
Sorry, but just because it’s the obvious choice doesn’t mean it’s the wrong one. A No. 15 Mahomes jersey is like a No. 23 Michael Jordan jersey: It’s not gonna get old. Travis Kelce (87) is another unoriginal but totally justified investment; even if he retired today, he’d go down as an all-timer in and outside of Kansas City.
Who knows how much longer offensive weapons like Josh Jacobs and Davante Adams will stick around? The 25-year-old Crosby, on the other hand, is still supremely underrated (66 QB hits the last two years), fits the hard-nosed Raiders culture and just signed an extension before last season.
Another no-nonsense pick. Maybe you can talk yourself into a Derwin James (3), if you wanna rep the most electric part of their defense. But barring injury, Herbert’s laser arm should keep this franchise in the mix for the next decade.
There’s little else to do but cling to the past in L.A., where the Rams are entering a quasi-rebuild. Donald may or may not stick around beyond 2023, and most Rams faithful probably already own his No. 99. But this jersey is an all-timer, signifying his Hall of Fame run as an interior force.
Calvin Ridley’s new No. 0, as Lawrence’s anticipated No. 1 wideout, could be a hot item, but he’s yet to make his official Jaguars debut. Lawrence, on the other hand, is quickly ascending the QB ranks as a prototypical pocket gunslinger. It wouldn’t be wild if he took an MVP-level leap in 2023.
Tyreek Hill (10) is the elder statesman of their speedy WR room, and Jalen Ramsey (5) would be a cool short-term bet just because of his reputation coming from the Rams. But Waddle, at just 24 with 2,300+ yards in two years, has the best makings of a long-term game-changer for Miami.
Probably the easiest call on this list, other than Patrick Mahomes. A face of today’s NFL going on 24, “Jets” has been MVP material since exploding onto the scene in Minnesota, and he’s still on the rise. The foundation has been laid for him to go down as an all-time Viking and pass catcher.
Not an abundance of obvious choices here, as they look to jump-start a sluggish offense. But Jones was flashy as a two-way utility man in his busy rookie year, starring as a corner, return man and offensive substitute. If Bill Belichick keeps using him, he could become a steady fan favorite.
Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas are stars of yesteryear, and new QB Derek Carr projects as more of a short-term figurehead. Young WR Chris Olave is a fine alternative, but Davis is an established leader and has been practically ageless during a five-year run as a star linebacker at the heart of their tough defense.
Saquon Barkley’s future beyond 2023 is up in the air. Daniel Jones took a big step in 2022 but is still a bit of a gamble. Unless you’re betting big on ex-Raiders TE Darren Waller (13) to stay healthy, Lawrence stands out as a proven commodity who just landed a long-term extension.
New York Jets: Aaron Rodgers (8)
Yes, he’s going on 40. Yes, he’ll probably only play another one to three years. Garrett Wilson (17) and Sauce Gardner (1) both make for smarter long-term picks. But it’s the right call if you’re a Jets fan. It’s not every day you get to rep a future Hall of Famer who represents such an injection of championship hope!
Philadelphia Eagles: Jalen Hurts (1)
His 2022 breakout under center proved he’s The Franchise, and the swagger with which he operates makes his jersey a must-have. But you can’t go wrong with a number of others, like the underrated DeVonta Smith (6), or the all-timers in Jason Kelce (62) and Brandon Graham (55).
Powerhouse T.J. Watt (99) is equally worthwhile, considering his pass rush is the catalyst of Pittsburgh’s stingy “D.” Cameron Heyward (97) is another all-time alternative. But Fitzpatrick doesn’t get the credit he’s due as a ballhawk on the back end, and he’s still just 26, fresh off an extension.
This is a case of personality deciding a tight race between two fellow stars in RB Christian McCaffrey and DE Nick Bosa. While he’s sometimes struggled to stay on the field, Kittle remains one of the best at his position and, more so, pairs his rugged downfield ability with such a fun-loving attitude.
Betting on QB Geno Smith (7) or CB Tariq Woolen (27) after single breakout seasons is a little risky. Wagner, on the other hand, may be nearing the end of the line but is already an all-time Seahawk, making his Seattle reunion after a one-year stint in L.A.
You could get by with a “legacy”-type selection, supporting longtime Bucs like Mike Evans (13) or Lavonte David (54), but Winfield is one of the few legit building blocks that should stay at a high level for years. His versatility and physicality have made him a top safety, and he’s still just 24.
It’s an unoriginal choice, to be sure; most Titans fans have been rocking No. 22 for years, and a younger force like Jeffery Simmons (98) feels safer as a long-term play. But on a roster devoid of playmakers, he’ll always be remembered for his supersized production as the heart of a tough team.
Unless you’re the biggest believer in the world of new QB Sam Howell, or you’d rather rep one of Ron Rivera’s big-bodied D-linemen (i.e. Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne) the No. 1 wideout is the way to go here. McLaurin has been relatively QB-proof as a smooth downfield operator.