Jets' Sauce Gardner Says He Paid D.J. Reed $50K for No. 1 Jersey

Adam WellsJune 14, 2022

Cincinnati cornerback Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner is chosen by the New York Jets with the 4th pick in the NFL football draft on Thursday, April, 28 2022 in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan)
AP Photo/Gregory Payan

One month after it was confirmed he will wear the No. 1, New York Jets rookie Ahmad "Sauce" Gardner has revealed what it took to get it.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Gardner said he had to pay D.J. Reed $50,000 to get him to hand over the number.

Field Yates @FieldYates

Jets rookie CB Sauce Gardner will wear number 1️⃣ . He said today he paid veteran CB D.J. Reed $50,000 for the number.

Gardner's number became a significant issue immediately after the draft. He wore the No. 20 during Jets' rookie minicamp last month, but it seemed pretty clear that wasn't going to stick.

"Jets fans, do not order my jersey until it’s official," Gardner wrote in a since-deleted tweet (h/t Geoff Magliocchetti of JetsXFactor.com). "I wish I could tell y’all what number I’m wearing, but I really don’t know yet. Just be patient, you’ll know real soon!!"

The Jets officially announced on May 10 that Gardner would wear the No. 1:

New York Jets @nyjets

At cornerback,<br>from the University Of Cincinnati,<br><br>Number 1<a href="https://twitter.com/iamSauceGardner?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@iamSauceGardner</a> <a href="https://t.co/wTUyQ5CEtU">pic.twitter.com/wTUyQ5CEtU</a>

The move isn't going to hurt Gardner's bottom line too much. His four-year rookie contract is worth a total of $33.45 million, including a $21.51 million signing bonus to be paid in four annual installments.

Reed showed tremendous business acumen with this whole scenario. He only took the No. 1 upon signing with the Jets as a free agent in March. The 25-year-old has never worn that number in his first four seasons in the NFL. He used No. 32 with the San Francisco 49ers (2018-19), Nos. 29 (2020), 2 and 9 (both in 2021) with the Seattle Seahawks.

After having the No. 1 with the Jets for less than two months, Reed was able to turn that into an additional $50,000. He got that on top of the three-year, $33 million the Jets paid him in free agency.

Gardner used the No. 1 during his three-year stint at the University of Cincinnati. It worked out for him, as he was named AAC Defensive Player of the Year and a consensus All-American in 2021.