The number hasn't been available for long, but No. 21 is going to another veteran – one that might cherish it for a different reason.
But Stephon Gilmore, a veteran cornerback who was traded to the Cowboys last week, will wear No. 21, the jersey most recently worn the last seven seasons by Ezekiel Elliott.
While Zeke certainly had his share of success in 21, it's also a number famously worn by Deion Sanders, the Hall of Fame cornerback who played five of his 16 NFL seasons in Dallas. Sanders played for five different teams, wearing No. 21 for all but the final two years of his career. Sanders made 21 a popular number for cornerbacks, wearing it in Atlanta, San Francisco, Dallas and Washington. After he retired for three seasons, the 37-year-old Sanders picked No. 37 to wear for two seasons in Baltimore.
As for Gilmore, this will not only be his fifth different NFL team, but his fifth number as well. He played one season in Buffalo at No. 27 before moving to 24, a number he donned for his final four years with the Bills and his four years with the Patriots. He wore No. 9 in Carolina in 2021 and then No. 5 last season with the Colts.
Like many players, Gilmore also had aspirations of wearing a single-digit number, before going with No. 21.
Another new veteran on the team, Brandin Cooks, is still trying to finalize his new number. He also is seeking a single-digit number but currently the Cowboys technically only have No. 3 available, although it was assigned to Anthony Brown, who is an unrestricted free agent. And No. 8 has not been issued to any player since Troy Aikman's retirement in 2001.
Running back Ronald Jones is expected to wear No. 32.