Falcons’ Kirk Cousins says getting Kyle Pitts’ jersey number would’ve cost ‘several hundred thousand’ dollars

Kirk Cousins revealed in his introductory press conference with the Atlanta Falcons last month that tight end Kyle Pitts joked that he was willing to hand off the No. 8 jersey if it meant he would be targeted more. 

And the former Minnesota Vikings quarterback would’ve happily made that exchange if it hadn’t been for the NFL. 

Kirk Cousins speaks to the media

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Kirk Cousins speaks during a news conference Wednesday, March 13, 2024, in Flowery Branch, Georgia. Cousins has one playoff victory in his long career. The Falcons are betting at least $100 million that he’s the guy who can lead them to the first Super Bowl title in franchise history.  (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

During a recent appearance on “The Big Podcast with Shaq,” Cousins said that keeping the No. 8 jersey would’ve been a costly move after the league stepped in to inform both Pitts and Cousins that they would have to both cut a check to cover the jerseys that already existed. 

“[Pitts] wanted to switch numbers anyway, so it was like a perfect fit,” Cousins said. 

“And then the league spoke into it. They were like ‘Well, Kyle Pitts has a lot of jerseys that are No. 8 with Pitts on the back. You would have to buy every single one.’ 

Kyle Pitts national anthem

Kyle Pitts, #8 of the Atlanta Falcons, stands on the sidelines during the national anthem prior to an NFL football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on October 22, 2023, in Tampa, Florida.  (Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images)

NBA legend Shaquille O’ Neal quickly jumped in to say he would never pay for a number, especially after hearing what it would’ve cost Cousins. 


“It was a big number. And I was like ‘I don’t want to write that check. I’m good, I’m happy.’”

He estimated, “It was several hundred thousand.”  

Cousins will instead wear No. 18 next season when he steps on the field for Atlanta – a place he hopes will be his last. 

Kirk Cousins points

Kirk Cousins, #8 of the Minnesota Vikings, reacts after throwing a pass for a touchdown during the first quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on October 29, 2023, in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

The Falcons signed Cousins to a $180 million, four-year deal that includes a $50 million signing bonus and $100 million guaranteed.

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