Earl Thomas was facing a MAJOR issue in his first days as a Baltimore Raven ... his beloved #29 jersey was already taken ... and he'd have to cough up some serious dough to get it.
That is ... until Marlon Humphrey decided to change his mind and give it away FOR FREE -- and his explanation is pretty dope.
"I initially asked Earl for money, and later that day I realized that’s not who I am," Humphrey says.
"So I texted him and said he can have it. I respect what he has done and accolades in 29. Didn’t want to alter that for a number I’ve accomplished nothing in."
MH has a point -- Thomas has been stellar in #29 ... winning a Super Bowl, making 6 Pro Bowls and being named a 1st team All-Pro 3 different times!!!
Battles over jersey numbers have gotten expensive in the past -- Clinton Portis famously offered an old Redskins teammate $40k(!!!) to get #26 in 2004 (that ended in a court battle).
Deion Sanders also bought a teammate a BMW to get his number when he joined the Cowboys.
Gotta give props to Humphrey for offering it up for free, 'cause dude coulda had some fatter pockets -- Thomas just inked a $55 million deal.