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2023 NY Jets jersey purchasing guide: Who to buy, who to avoid

NY Jets, Jermaine Johnson, Jersey
Jermaine Johnson, New York Jets, Getty Images

The New York Jets are loaded with intriguing jersey options

NFL jerseys are no cheap purchase.

As much as we love the actual act of owning and wearing our favorite players’ jerseys, when it actually comes down to forking over the cash it takes to buy one, it’s not nearly as fun. That’s why, unless we’re really splurging, most of us really only purchase one jersey at a time — and when we do, it’s one we plan on keeping for the long haul.

Because of this, buying a player’s jersey can really be seen as a commitment to that player — like buying stock in them, betting on the fact that they’ll be a successful NFL player on that team for a long time.

Bad investments for New York Jets fans in recent years have included jerseys like Sam Darnold, Le’Veon Bell and Jamal Adams, among others.

But now, with Jets jerseys suddenly becoming some of the hottest to own in the entire NFL and the team finally introducing throwbacks, what are the smartest ones to actually buy this year? Jets X-Factor has you covered, as we’ve separated some of the top options into tiers based on a combination of the likelihood they’ll be on the team long-term, as well as their popularity among the fanbase.

Tier 1: Can’t go wrong

This tier is devoted to Jets legends. The nice part about these guys is that their legacy in Jets history is already cemented. That means purchasing any of these jerseys already means they can be owned and cherished forever, without fear of a team change.

The only downside is the fact that they aren’t playing currently, and some people much prefer jerseys of active players, which is understandable. This tier is extensive, so only a few names will be listed.

Joe Namath – Legendary super-bowl-winning quarterback. Broadway Joe’s number 12 will always be a staple of Jets jerseys.

Darrelle Revis – One of the best corners in NFL history and a newly-enshrined Hall of Famer. This jersey is just cool to own for any football fan as “Revis Island” was near impenetrable.

Curtis Martin – Best running back in Jets history. In his early thirties, an age when most running backs nowadays are out of their prime, Martin won the NFL rushing title… with a torn MCL suffered in Week 2.

Don Maynard – One of the best receivers in Jets history. Maynard was Joe Namath’s favorite target and was crucial to the legendary quarterback’s development. It also doesn’t hurt that he was a key member of the Super Bowl III-winning Jets team. Not the flashiest jersey to own these days, but it certainly shows you’re a Jets fan through and through.

Wayne Chrebet – Chrebet can’t be left off this list. He played 11 seasons with the Jets and is still an absolute fan favorite. You can’t go wrong with purchasing his jersey. Side note, listen to Chrebet on Jets X-Factor’s Underdog Jets Podcast with Robby Sabo.

Tier 2: Safe

Now we can move into the active players. This tier is reserved only for current Jets players who look to be long-term franchise cornerstones. This tier is not devoid of any risk (Zach Wilson and Elijah Moore both felt like relatively safe purchases just a year or two ago), but these players look to have the highest likelihood of being with the Jets for the long term.

Quinnen Williams – Williams, arguably the best player on the Jets, is finally being paid like the dominant defender he is. His record-setting contract brings with it not only mounds of cash, but longevity with the franchise as well, making him among the very safest jerseys you can purchase as a fan.

Sauce Gardner – Do I even need to say it? The reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year and first-team All-Pro cornerback for the Jets is one of the hottest jerseys you can buy as an NFL fan. Not only does purchasing Sauce’s iconic number 1 represent one of the safest jersey investments on the team, it’s also arguably the most aesthetically pleasing (he paid for that number 1, after all).

Alijah Vera-Tucker – Sure, owning an offensive lineman’s jersey might not be the most interesting or recognizable to your average football fan, but any Jets fan knows the type of player AVT is. Add in the fact that Joe Douglas traded up to get him in the draft a few years ago and it’s a pretty safe bet that he’s a Jet for the long haul.

Breece Hall – Hall is teetering right on the brink of this tier, but we’re giving him the nod as one of the safest Jets jerseys to purchase, simply because of what he showed last season. This isn’t a Michael Carter situation, where the Jets seemingly found a talented rookie in the fourth round but still feel they could replace him; they traded up for Hall, and he rewarded them by showing he can be one of the top weapons in the entire league before getting injured.

Consider Hall’s jersey the riskiest purchase of this tier until we’ve seen him fully return to form, but his number 20 is still a great investment.

Tier 3: Good, but some risk

The largest tier, these players come with a bit more risk, but they are quite desirable jerseys to own for Jets fans. These players are expected to be Jets for the long term, but they do still have more to prove before being considered in the safest tier.

Aaron Rodgers – This might feel high considering where we were just a few months ago: assuming Rodgers’ plan was to be a Jet for a year or two and then ride off into the sunset. But Rodgers has since made it sound more and more likely that he remains with the team for closer to two or three years.

There’s obviously plenty of time for that to change, but Rodgers’ status as an already-cemented Hall of Fame quarterback makes his jersey a cool purchase regardless. If we could absolutely guarantee multiple solid years of Rodgers, this jersey moves up a tier.

Jermaine Johnson II – Not only has Johnson looked absolutely phenomenal all training camp and preseason long, the Jets traded back up into the first round to select him last year, making him a safe bet to be on the roster for years to come. Now that Johnson has switched his jersey digits back to his college number of 11 (something fans had been hoping for on social media), he can officially be considered one of the best-looking jerseys.

The only thing holding this jersey back from being a tier higher is needing to see him translate this incredible offseason into the regular season.

Will McDonald IV – The Jets’ first-round draft pick from back in May has already turned many heads this preseason. By all accounts, he’s looked like one of the better rookie defenders across the league to this point. Like Johnson, McDonald’s first-round status essentially guarantees him a spot on the roster for at least the next few seasons, but also like Johnson, we just need to see McDonald carry his promising offseason into the regular season before considering his jersey a little-to-no-risk purchase.

C.J. Mosley – The best linebacker on the team and the leader of the defense, Mosley has been a staple Jet for what feels like a very long time. While he’s undoubtedly an extremely smart and effective player, the concerns with buying Mosley’s jersey come with the lack of certainty surrounding how long he’ll be a Jet. It feels like the past couple of offseasons have included questions around whether the team will release Mosley because of his sizable cap hit.

They haven’t done it, though, and he’s continued to deliver as a rock-solid presence in the middle of the defense. Still, there are plenty of jerseys to be had with fewer questions.

Quincy Williams – Now, the “other” Williams brother might not even be the best linebacker on the team, but the Jets locked him into a three-year contract, signaling two things: he’ll be here at least the next few years, and they intend to use him. The risk with buying Quincy’s jersey is that we don’t really know how good he’ll end up being.

There are certainly flashier, more talented Jets jerseys to be had (heck, there’s even a flashier “Williams” jersey to be had), but Quincy’s a cool and relatively safe one for Jets fans looking for a jersey more on the obscure side.

Tier 4: Tempting, but wait

These players are exciting, but for various reasons, it would be smartest to hold off on purchasing their jerseys right now. The “tempting” label rings true for these players, but also serves as an indication that they’ll be higher in the future.

Garrett Wilson – Yes, he’s the reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year and one of the unquestioned best players on the entire Jets team. And yes, there’s a good chance he’s a New York Jet for life, making him an obviously safe purchase.

But the reason we recommend fighting the temptation to purchase a number 17 Garrett Wilson jersey is that his number is going to change. Wilson himself has said on Twitter that he plans to switch his number from 17 to 5 (the number he wore in college) following this season. We’d all love a Garrett Wilson jersey, but we can’t recommend dropping the money on one, only to have him change his number after the season. For what it’s worth, it was nice of Wilson to let us know.

Israel Abanikanda – This just feels like such a cool jersey to own. The name “Abanikanda” with the number 25 is just fantastic aesthetically. So while it may be tempting to go for it, especially after watching his promising preseason, it’s best to wait and see how he performs in actual NFL game action. There’s also the fact that he’s 20 years old and sits behind Breece Hall and Dalvin Cook on the depth chart, so may not see a ton of playing time this season. Consider this a jersey that will rise up these tiers rapidly in the years to come.

Tier 5: Do not buy

This tier is self-explanatory. Purchasing the jersey of any player in this tier poses a significant amount of risk, and your money is probably best spent elsewhere.

Dalvin Cook – It’s not that Cook won’t be good with the Jets, it’s the fact that he’s only signed on a one-year deal. While Cook is a four-time Pro-Bowler, there’s no doubt that his prime days are behind him and he won’t be the featured player he once was, especially sharing a backfield with Hall and others. Still 28 years old, there’s a very real chance that Cook is an incredibly exciting Jet this season, but buying his jersey simply can’t be considered a smart use of your money, as he likely won’t be on the team past this year.

Thomas Morstead – The case with Morstead is pretty similar to Cook: he’s only signed on a one-year contract. He’s also 37 years old, so unless you’re just a really big Thomas Morstead fan, there’s very little reason to spend your money on his Jets jersey.

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10 months ago

My collection is K. Johnson, Moss, Vilma and Sanchez (Titans). So no real hits, at least as Jets anyway.

Matt Galemmo
10 months ago

Maybe I misunderstand the purpose of buying jerseys, but it seems to me that when the number 5 gets brought into the ring of honor in 2040 it would be pretty cool to be one of the few that can wear your Garrett Wilson #17 jersey to the event.

Also, even if Rodgers falls of a cliff this year, or maybe especially so, a Rodgers #8 jersey has got to be some unique memorabilia to own.

Jonathan Richter
10 months ago

I’m done buying jerseys of active players. I ALWAYS jinx them. The last active Jet’s jersey I got was Elijah Moore. I’ve got Brooklyn Nets jerseys for Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris Levert. I’m looking to pick up a Joe Klecko 73 sometime this season.

10 months ago

Can not go wrong with Klecko!

10 months ago
Reply to  mlesko73

I have one of his, it should be on the “can’t go wrong list!”