Cheap But Relevant NFL Jerseys: AFC 2014

Being a good football fan can be an absurdly expensive job. Can you imagine how a fan of the Cleveland Browns must feel if he picked up the jersey of their latest quarterback each year? Each fan could come close to dressing a whole team themselves. Well, at least an offense.

Some fans have sworn off jerseys as a result and stick to generic shirts and hats, or spend some extra money to get a throwback jersey of an old player or a custom jersey with their own name on the back. The New England Patriots have even developed a rebate program for jerseys of players who leave the organization due to waivers, trades or pending legal charges.

One of the items on my sports fan bucket list is to go to one home game for each NFL team and become a fan of that team for a day. This means getting a jersey. This also means that I don’t want to spend more than the ticket costs for that jersey. So I hunt for cheap but semi-relevant player jerseys. These are the jerseys of players who used to be on the team, left, but are still respected by their old fans. Well, at least not hated by their old fans. Now I pass this knowledge on to you so that you can show pride — or at least hope — for your team. May you never again have to wear that old Terrell Owens jersey and feel vaguely dirty.

CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 29:  Ray Rice #27 of the Baltimore Ravens runs with the ball during the NFL game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on December 29, 2013 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Ray Rice (Photo Credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Baltimore Ravens

The bad news is that there are no jerseys on sale for the Baltimore Ravens. For men, at least.

You can still pick up a good deal with an Anquan Boldin jersey for your kid, or even an Ed Reed jersey for the ladies. For men? We can’t even get a Todd Heap jersey anymore because he retired. When a team is selling the jersey of their kicker, you may have a problem picking up a jersey on sale.

However, due to loss of tire tread, running back Ray Rice may not be long for this team, which means he could follow in Maurice Jones-Drew’s footsteps and take his veteran legs elsewhere when his contract is up.

Keep Tabs on a Ray Rice Jersey (Currently $99.95)

FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 11:  Ryan Fitzpatrick #14 of the Buffalo Bills throws a pass against the New England Patriots during the game on November 11, 2012 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

Ryan Fitzpatrick (Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Buffalo Bills

Ryan Fitzpatrick

While it’s true that Ryan Fitzpatrick didn’t really do much for the Buffalo Bills on the field except fill in when other quarterbacks failed, it’s hard not to give Fitzpatrick some respect as a human being. Or at least as an entertaining football player.

One thing Fitzpatrick always had going for him was his ginormous beard, which doubled as chin-strap padding as well as helped lead to one of his nicknames, “The Amish Rifle.” That’s right, I said one of his nicknames. Fitzpatrick had two. The other was “Fitzmagic” due to a song parody created by a Buffalo radio broadcaster that is probably the greatest player theme song ever.

Buy a Ryan Fitzpatrick Jersey ($19.99)

JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 09:  Cedric Benson #32 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs against the Jacksonville Jaguars during play at EverBank Field on October 9, 2011 in Jacksonville, Florida. Cincinnati won 30-20.

Cedric Benson (Photo Credit: Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Cincinnati Bengals

Cedric Benson

Football players rarely leave the Cincinnati Bengals without some sort of grudge, either from fans, ownership or themselves. Most of the time it is due to legal troubles, but not always. Carson Palmer could have been one of those beloved former players but, after doing his best to make the Bengals organization trade him, it was not to be.

The closest thing the Cincinnati Bengals have to a former player who isn’t totally hated by Cincinnati is Cedric Benson. Sure, he was arrested a bit more than your average NFL player, but he didn’t kill anybody, which is now the measuring stick when asking the question, “How bad was he?” in reference to football players.

Buy a Cedric Benson Jersey ($19.99)

BALTIMORE, MD - DECEMBER 24:  Peyton Hillis #40 of the Cleveland Browns looks on from the sidelines during the closing moments of the Browns 20-14 loss to the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on December 24, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland.

Peyton Hillis (Photo Credit: Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Cleveland Browns

Peyton Hillis

Next year, Johnny Manziel may be in this spot considering how quickly the Cleveland Browns blow through the expectations of their quarterbacks. Just ask Tim Couch, Brady Quinn, Colt McCoy and Brandon Weeden.

For now, we can rely on a true former star of the Cleveland Browns for our cheap, respectable jersey needs: Peyton Hillis.

Hillis was good for a brief time, but what makes him a former fan favorite is that he is the only Browns player to make it to the cover of a Madden football game. Hillis did that in 2011, and promptly spiraled into mediocrity.

Buy a Peyton Hillis Jersey ($19.99)

JERSEY CITY, NJ - JANUARY 29: Champ Bailey #24 of the Denver Broncos speaks to the media during an availability January 29, 2014 in Jersey City, New Jersey. The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks will meet at Super Bowl XLVIII at Metlife Stadium on February 2, 2014.

Champ Bailey (Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Denver Broncos

Champ Bailey

The adventures of Champ Bailey continue as the cornerback heads to New Orleans. That makes it five years with the Redskins and ten years with the Broncos. At this rate, Champ Bailey will play for the Saints for fifteen years and retire at the age of 51. Maybe.

Until then, you can show your pride in the past defenses of the Denver Broncos with a Champ Bailey jersey on the semi-cheap. Or you can wait a few years until Peyton Manning retires, since he’ll be going into the Hall of Fame as a Colt.

Buy a Champ Bailey Jersey ($59.99)

HOUSTON, TX- SEPTEMBER 29: Owen Daniels #81 of the Houston Texans makes the catch while Kam Chancellor #31 of the Seattle Seahawks defends on the play on September 29, 2013 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas.

Owen Daniels (Photo Credit: Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images)

Houston Texans

Owen Daniels

It’s doubtful that any self-respecting Texans fan would jump on a Matt Schaub jersey even if it was being given away for free to put out a fire in your home, especially since fans in Houston were burning his jersey in the stadium parking lot. But an Owen Daniels jersey is still respectable.

Then again, Andre Johnson jerseys may take a dip in price if he has his way and gets out of Houston.

Buy an Owen Daniels Jersey ($39.99)

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - NOVEMBER 13: Austin Collie #17 of the Indianapolis Colts runs with the ball while defended by Paul Posluszny #51 of the Jacksonville Jaguars at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 13, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Jaguars won 17-3.

Austin Collie (Photo Credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Indianapolis Colts

Austin Collie

While Austin Collie was not on the Colts when the team won Peyton Manning’s first Super Bowl, he was an important slot receiver in the team’s second run at the championship a few years later. It was a losing run in the end, but a run nonetheless.

Collie is small for a receiver, but he has heart like Wes Welker, and possibly just as many concussions.

Buy an Austin Collie Jersey ($19.99)

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 10:  Maurice Jones-Drew #32 of the Jacksonville Jaguars runs the ball against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field on November 10, 2013 in Nashville, Tennessee.  The Jaguars defeated the Titans 29-27.

Maurice Jones-Drew (Photo Credit: Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Jacksonville Jaguars

Maurice Jones-Drew

It’s hard to believe, but Maurice Jones-Drew is no longer a Jacksonville Jaguar. For years, the Oompa Loompa running back was pretty much the entire Jaguars offense, like a mini-Adrian Peterson. But after suffering a foot injury, he was never the same, and promptly found himself in Oakland.

Usually such a major presence for a team would get a minor jersey price reduction but, with the Jaguars constantly changing their uniform and logo, the old MJD jerseys are ripe for the buying.

Buy a Maurice Jones-Drew Jersey ($19.99)

ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 18: Javier Arenas #21 of the Kansas City Chiefs runs against the St. Louis Rams during a pre-season game at the Edward Jones Dome on August 18, 2012 in St. Louis, Missouri.

Javier Arenas (Photo Credit: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Kansas City Chiefs

Javier Arenas

Before last season, a respectable Kansas City Chiefs jersey would have included any player who wasn’t on the team anymore. Yeah, it got that bad: Tony Gonzalez left for Atlanta; the Matt Cassel years made Tyler Palko look good; Jovan Belcher… well, you know that sad story.

Now that the Chiefs have become legitimate, finding respectable old jerseys is almost impossible. Luckily, Javier Arenas jerseys are available to show off that you were there for the Chiefs in their worst times.

Buy a Javier Arenas Jersey ($19.99)

CHARLOTTE, NC - AUGUST 17:  Richie Incognito #68 of the Miami Dolphins during their preseason game at Bank of America Stadium on August 17, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Richie Incognito (Photo Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Miami Dolphins

Unfortunately for the men, cheap Dolphins jerseys just aren’t available. Maybe it’s because the 1972 Dolphins celebrate their perfect season each year, buying up all the cheap jerseys and pouring champagne over them while they kiss their perfect season rings. The world may never know.

Luckily, the jerseys of past mediocre Dolphins like Reggie Bush, Chad Henne and Davone Bess, are ready for kids and women everywhere.

Buy a Davone Bess Jersey for Your Kids ($34.99)

FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 11: Danny Woodhead #39 of the New England Patriots reacts after a touchdown against the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium on November 11, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

Danny Woodhead (Photo Credit: Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

New England Patriots

Danny Woodhead

The New England Patriots are the first team in recent memory that gave fans a hand with this whole problem with buying a player jersey only to have that player leave the team. When Aaron Hernandez began his adventure in lock-up, the Patriots offered a jersey exchange for a weekend at their stadium store. Now they give a 25% discount on a new jersey if you trade in your former player jersey for a current player.

So if you haven’t traded in your old Danny Woodhead jersey for the down payment on a Tom Brady jersey yet, you may want to think about keeping it. It’s better than a Randy Moss jersey.

Buy a Danny Woodhead Jersey ($39.99)

ORCHARD PARK, NY - NOVEMBER 06: Dustin Keller #81 of the New York Jets makes a catch against George Wilson #37 of the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on November 6, 2011 in Orchard Park, New York.New York won 27-11.

Dustin Keller (Photo Credit: Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

New York Jets

Dustin Keller

I’ll be the first to admit that it is a painful time on the wallet to be a Jets fan. There is so much player turnover that the best jersey to have at the moment is of the center, Nick Mangold. I thought I was safe picking up a Darrelle Revis jersey a few years back. Now it sits in the back of my closet next to the Mark Sanchez jersey a friend bought me, and makes me cry every time I look at it.

Revis and Sanchez jerseys are available, but you don’t want those. You would be much better off with the jersey of a player who didn’t break your heart as badly, and may even have a chance of coming back: tight end Dustin Keller.

Buy a Dustin Keller Jersey ($19.99)

CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 25:  Carson Palmer #3 of the Oakland Raiders tries to communicate to his teammates during the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on November 25, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  The Bengals defeated the Bengals 34-10.

Carson Palmer (Photo Credit: John Grieshop/Getty Images)

Oakland Raiders

Carson Palmer

If you’re a Raiders fan, chances are that you already have a Rich Gannon, Charles Woodson, or Sebastian Janikowski jersey, and you would be respectable in those ownerships. Yes, even the jersey of a kicker.

But if you want to wear the cheap jersey of a journeyman quarterback with an attitude only a Raiders fan could love, you may be be well suited for a Carson Palmer jersey.

Buy a Carson Palmer Jersey ($39.99)

DETROIT , MI - OCTOBER 11: Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions is tackled by James Harrison #92 of the Pittsburgh Steelers October 11, 2009 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. Johnson was injured on the play.

James Harrison (Photo Credit: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Pittsburgh Steelers

James Harrison

If you want any sort of Pittsburgh Steelers jersey, you have to go with defense. Not just because there are so many to choose from, but because Steelers and “knock the opponent out of their shoes” go hand in hand when discussing sports.

One player particularly good at knocking his opponents out of their shoes and into concussions was James Harrison, who amassed two Super Bowl rings and countless fines with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Thanks for the memories, James.

Buy a James Harrison Jersey ($39.99)

SAN DIEGO, CA - OCTOBER 15: Robert Meachem #12 of the San Diego Chargers comes in motion during the game against the Denver Broncos at Qualcomm Stadium on October 15, 2012 in San Diego, California.

Robert Meachem (Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images)

San Diego Chargers

Robert Meachem

Recently, the Chargers have had two problems that usually lead to a horrible selection of sale jerseys. 1) The team hasn’t been very good. 2) The players who have come and gone haven’t been very memorable except for Vincent Jackson.

While a Philip Rivers jersey is fun for the whole family, Robert Meachem is available for fans on a budget, as well as NFL teams in general, considering how long he usually stays on one team.

Buy a Robert Meachem Jersey ($39.99)

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 26:  Chris Johnson #28 of the Tennessee Titans waits on the sidelines during a game against the New York Giants at New Meadowlands Stadium on September 26, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Chris Johnson (Photo Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Tennessee Titans

Chris Johnson

Out of all other positions, running back is usually the position that the Titans fill the best. At the very least, for the last eight years. That running back is Chris Johnson, aka CJ2K, aka that guy who raced a cheetah.

While he may not have beat the cheetah, or even beat out Shonn Greene for touches last season, a Johnson jersey is a respectable piece of history. At least it beats a Kerry Collins jersey.

Buy a Chris Johnson Jersey ($19.99)

Find more cool gear for your next tailgate.

Patrick Emmel is a sports humorist who once punted a soccer ball fifty yards to his teammate, who then scored the only goal for his college intramural soccer team’s season. Seriously, that kick was placed PERFECTLY. He is also still a believer that Colt McCoy is going to break out as an NFL quarterback. You can read more of his obnoxious commentary at This Jeer In Sports and heckle him on Twitter @Patrick_AE.


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