NY Jets fans are livid about Olu Fashanu's controversial number choice

Jets fans aren't happy
Olu Fashanu
Olu Fashanu / Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The NY Jets have high expectations for rookie first-round pick Olu Fashanu who is expected to be the team's long-term solution at left tackle. While he may not start right away as a rookie, the Jets believe Fashanu will take over as their starting blindside protector as soon as next season.

Those lofty expectations were only furthered on Friday when the Jets announced the official numbers their 2024 rookie class will wear moving forward. Fashanu was awarded the same number he wore at Penn State — a number many Jets fans associate with a certain former offensive line legend.

The rookie left tackle will be wearing No. 74, the first Jets player to do so since Nick Mangold retired in 2016. While Mangold's jersey isn't officially retired, no Jets player has worn his old number since he left the team.

Many assumed that Mangold's number was unofficially retired and that Fashanu would be forced to choose a new pair of digits in the NFL. Evidently, that's not the case, and some Jets fans aren't very happy about it.

Did the NY Jets make a mistake giving Nick Mangold's old number to Olu Fashanu?

The Jets have only officially retired five jerseys in their team's history: Joe Namath's No. 12, Don Maynard's No. 13, Curtis Martin's No. 28, Joe Klecko's No. 73, and Dennis Byrd's No. 90.

There are a couple of notable instances of jersey numbers being unofficially retired, however. For example, no Jets player has worn Darrelle Revis' No. 24 in a regular season game since he retired.

Mangold fit into that criteria until Fashanu's jersey selection. It is notably rare for the Jets to retire jersey numbers, and there are quite a few examples of notable Jets who haven't received that honor.

Revis is, of course, the most notable example, but other Jets legends who haven't had their numbers retired include Mark Gastineau, Wesley Walker, Wayne Chrebet, Al Toon, Kevin Mawae, Freeman McNeil, etc.

Mangold would be the first offensive lineman in Jets history to have his number retired, and while that would undoubtedly be an incredible honor, I'm not sure his absence is as glaring of an omission as many believe.

The Jets clearly believe Fashanu has the ability to be one of the best left tackles in the NFL and a true franchise cornerstone. Giving him Mangold's number likely wasn't an easy decision, but it's one they seem confident in.

Of course, the Jets did note that all rookie minicamp numbers are subject to change. Perhaps there's a chance this outrage is all for naught.

But if Fashanu keeps this number, he has a hefty legacy to live up to. The Jets believe he can do just that.