We now know which jersey numbers some newly-signed New Orleans Saints players will be wearing during the 2021 season, though of course they’re subject to change at this early point in the year. All but one of the Saints free agent pickups have been assigned their initial jersey number — their biggest addition, veteran safety Marcus Maye, is still listed without a number online on the roster from the team’s official website. But let’s start with the strangest choice from the bunch, which currently has backup quarterback wearing the number of a defensive lineman:
No. 91, QB Andy Dalton
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Huh? Yeah, that’s what Dalton is listed in as of 5 pm CT on Wednesday, April 6. But don’t expect Dalton to stick with No. 91 for long. For one thing, quarterbacks are still ineligible to use it or any other number in the nineties despite the NFL having expanded its positional restrictions last year. Maybe this is a similar procedural move like what the New England Patriots did with Mac Jones last year.
When the Saints gather for training camp later this summer, he’ll be wearing something less unusual, maybe the same No. 14 jersey he’s used dating back to his college days at TCU. Running back Mark Ingram II could look to buy back either the No. 22 or 28 jerseys he’s used before and make that one available for Dalton.
No. 88, TE JP Holtz
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Good choice here. No. 88 is a fine number for a tight end, and it would be a really cool look for a fullback if Holtz can elbow his way into the competition for that job. He may have preferred Nos. 81 or 82, but Nick Vannett took the former last year and Adam Trautman has had the latter for a while.
No. 69, DT Kentavius Street
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Street has used No. 95 in the NFL and No. 35 in college at NC State, but the former was taken by Albert Huggins and the latter is ineligible for defensive linemen. Oh well. If Street can take Huggins’ roster spot in training camp he can wear his preferred number, though it’s possible someone else in a more appropriate jersey could get moved out of that spot.
No. 59, DT Jaleel Johnson
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Johnson has gone with Nos. 93 and 94 in the NFL, but neither David Onyemata nor Cameron Jordan are giving those up. He wore No. 67 in college at Iowa but that isn’t an option, either (2021 draft pick Landon Young picked it first). Honestly No. 59 is a fine number for a defensive lineman, if unconventional; I wouldn’t hate it if he sticks with it. But something will change because backup linebacker Sharif Finch has also been assigned No. 59.
No. 54, DE Taco Charlton
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This is a stellar choice, let’s be honest. No. 54 is an ideal number for a defensive end or linebacker and Charlton should wear it really well. Good decision by him. No notes.
No. 30, S Justin Evans
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Yeah, this is fine. It’s a new number for Evans after he used No. 14 at Texas A&M and No. 21 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but it’s a timeless number for a defensive back. Hopefully he stays healthy after a couple of years out of football and gets to continue wearing it.
No. 28, S Daniel Sorensen
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Huh? This is kind of random. Sorensen wore No. 49 during his many years with the Kansas City Chiefs, having picked Nos. 44 and 9 in college at BYU. Obviously the Saints weren’t going to have him (or anyone else) wear Drew Brees’ old number, but No. 44 was available. But this is definitely an upgrade for any defensive back, even if Sorensen’s aesthetic may have better fit an awkward fit in the forties.