With Seahawks Training Camp less than a month away, it's time for Twelves to think about buying a new jersey for the upcoming season. Particularly if you're planning on catching one of those public sessions at the VMAC, you don't wanna be the poor bastard that has to show up in a Matt Flynn jersey. So if you have the necessary means (at least $100 - Damn you, Nike!), now's the time to start your deliberations. First, my annual advice to all Twelves when it comes to jerseys:
As usual, I'm setting aside throwback jerseys and #12 FAN jerseys (though I've changed my tune on the #12's- Given how precarious roster spots are under PCJS's rule, I can't blame a fan for playing it safe with such a substantial investment). Remember that the Nike jerseys run a size smaller than the old Reebok ones- I used to wear a large, but I had to bump up to XL after Nike took over (and no, not because I got fatter, smart-ass). I also argue that there's really no compelling reason to buy the pricier Nike models. The $100 ones look just fine as far as I'm concerned. My biggest caution? NEVER PUT YOUR JERSEY IN THE DRYER! Dryers kill jerseys! Don't do it under any circumstances. With proper care, these Nike duds should hold up for a nice, long spell. If possible, wash them on the delicate cycle in cold water by themselves.
One bit of great news for fans is that NFL Shop has a wider selection of jersey options than I've seen anywhere else (Full disclosure: they're my main advertising partner, so I'm not going to pretend that I don't want you to buy your Seahawks gear by clicking through on one of the banner ads in the right column). Because of this, I'm not going to go through EVERY available jersey option like I have in past seasons.
So how should you decide on a jersey? For me, it basically comes down to four criteria
Awesomeness: How much ass does this guy kick? Why wear the jersey of "just a guy?"
Longevity: How injury-prone is the player (I HATE wearing the jersey of an injured player)? How long is his contract?
Originality: Will this help me stand out from the crowd?
Likability: Is the player a decent human being, or at least not an obviously giant asshole?
10 DON'T BUYS: Bruce Irvin, Chris Clemons, Golden Tate, Brandon Browner, Doug Baldwin, Walter Thurmond, Michael Robinson, Michael Bennett, Antoine Winfield.
These are the jerseys that carry the highest probability of causing serious buyer's remorse. Bruce Irvin still has potential, but why plunk down the money on the jersey of a guy who won't see the field until October due to his 4-game suspension? Chris Clemons might still be a monster this fall, but he IS coming off major knee surgery. It doesn't help his case in my eyes that he made what could be construed as homophobic remarks about potentially having a gay teammate. Tate, Baldwin, Robinson, Bennett, Winfield and Thurmond ALL might have great seasons, but all of them are also unrestricted free agents in 2014 (Browner will be a restricted free agent). Unless you want to emulate the awful Josh Brown mistake I made a few years back, just buy the jersey of a player with more years on his contract.
5 RISKY BUYS: Marshawn Lynch, Sidney Rice, Cliff Avril, K.J. Wright, John Moffitt
I own and proudly wear a Lynch jersey, but his style of play (and still-looming threat of a DUI-related suspension) would make me hesitant about buying one now. Sidney Rice won't be a free agent until 2016, but his relatively disappointing production in Seattle thus far (and history of injury problems) puts him in the "risky buy" category for me. Avril is a new free agent acquisition, and he's only under contract through 2014. Wright and Moffitt also become UFAs after the 2014 season.
5 SOLID BUYS: Zach Miller, Brandon Mebane, Russell Okung, Bobby Wagner, Red Bryant
All of these players are important contributors with a LOT of years left on their contracts and their jerseys carry the added cache of not being worn by thousands of Twelves already... Still, there's an elite half-dozen players that I think represent the best options for Twelves in the market for a new jersey this season...
6. Percy Harvin
Harvin is an electrifying talent, and he will end up representing the Seahawks on the SportsCenter Top 10 regularly. He also is locked down contract-wise through 2018. The only reasons I have him at #6 are his injury history and the inherent uncertainty surrounding a player who has not yet worn a Seahawks uniform.
5. Max Unger
I've always been apt to consider buying the jersey of an offensive lineman when the opportunity arises. Almost nobody seems to wear these guys' gear, so I automatically respect someone a bit more when I see them in an O-lineman's jersey. When you've got a lineman who was just voted All-Pro and is under contract through 2016, his jersey becomes an attractive option to me.
4. Earl Thomas and 3. Richard Sherman
Both these guys are spectacular talents, and I think both of them are on Ring-of-Honor or even Hall-of-Fame trajectories. The only thing that makes me even slightly hesitate with them is their UFA status after the 2014 season. I'm 95% percent sure they'll get extended and be career Seahawks, but with PCJS we just don't know yet... Which is why their fellow Legion-of-Boomer is above them at #2...
2. Kam Chancellor
The Slayer Of Vernon Davis. Bam-Bam Kam. The most feared, intimidating defensive back in the NFL. A total Ken-Easley-level BADass. He's also under contract through 2017, and you don't see TOO many of his jerseys at Seahawks Stadium, so buying his jersey is a choice that's hard to beat... But not impossible to beat.
1. Russell Wilson
Yes, everyone has (or will have) a Wilson jersey. In this case, who gives a damn? Hell, I already have one, and I want two more! He's our franchise quarterback, and the man who will bring a Lombardi Trophy back to the Emerald City. He'll be a career Hawk, and perhaps the best player in franchise history by the time he retires. Every Twelve should have a Wilson jersey if they can swing it financially. Any other jersey should simply be your back-up option.
What do you think, sirs? Am I totally wrong? Did I miss any interesting options? Let's hash it out in the comments!