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Antonio Cromartie gets his 31; Justin Bethel to wear 28

The vet finally gets his jersey number

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

When Arizona Cardinals cornerback Antonio Cromartie signed with the team, he made it clear that he wanted to be able to wear number 31, the number he had worn for years. The problem was that fellow cornerback Justin Bethel wore number 31.

Cromartie, who was listed for weeks on the official roster with no jersey number, now got his number. Team reporter Darren Urban tweeted the news on Thursday, announcing that Bethel gave up his 31 to Cromartie and took 28, which was worn last season by running back Rashard Mendenhall, who retired from the NFL this offseason.

What was not reported was what it took for Bethel to give up his number. Such a change usually comes with a price.

I believe it was Adrian Wilson, who joined the Patriots after he was cut by the Cardinals, who was able to get his number 24 from a young teammate by hooking that player up with a year supply of diapers for his new baby. I have heard it costing players as much as $30K for the number they want.

In other cases, it is a little easier. Last offseason, Karlos Dansby joined the team and, since Daryl Washington already had 58, took 55. But after the team signed John Abraham, who had worn 55 most of his career, Dansby just gave up his new 55 to Abraham, saying that he wanted the veteran to be comfortable. He did say that Abraham's price was to get a sack in every game, which didn't happen. Of course, had it been Dansby's original 58, surely it would not have been that easy.

While this is inconsequential, it does allow Cardinals fans to do something -- order that Cromartie jersey that many have been waiting for.