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Purchasing an NFL replica jersey requires something of a leap of faith these days. Sure, you can go out and get a Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers kit and you likely are safe for a few years: Stars like that have evergreen popularity. But what if you want to buy the jersey of that non-established player who went to your college, or who shares your last name, or who is using all his grit to simply make the practice squad as an undrafted free agent, or who might not be around when the season kicks off in early September. Dropping $100 for that doesn’t seem such a sure thing, does it?

The Patriots are trying to eliminate some of that doubt. From Rovell:

The New England Patriots will become the first NFL team to offer a jersey rebate if a fan purchases a jersey of a player who is no longer under contract within a year of that jersey being bought.

On Thursday morning, the team sent an email of the “Jersey Guarantee” to fans on its mailing list.

If a fan purchases a jersey from either the team website or stadium store, and the player whose name on the back leaves the team within a year of purchase, that fan will receive a 25 percent discount toward the price of the next Patriots jersey they buy. The fan, who has two months from the day the player is no longer under contract to make the new purchase with the discount, does not have to return the original jersey with the name of the former player.

Last year, the team took the unprecedented move of allowing anyone who had bought a jersey of Aaron Hernandez, who was charged with murder, to exchange it for the jersey of another player. More than 1,200 fans took the team up on the offer.

Rovell points out that a lot of Patriots fans bought Tim Tebow jerseys last season before he got cut in the preseason and a number of LaGarrett Blount uniforms as he came on strong near the end of the season, only to depart for the Steelers in the offseason. This year, the hot jersey in New England could be cornerback Darrelle Revis, but he’s on his third team in three years and only has a one-year deal with the Patriots.

No word if other teams will follow the Patriots’ lead. The Redskins, for one, have done what they can to unload the jerseys of departed players in the past, selling them for the cost of a quality six-pack (Albert Haynesworth) or simply giving them away for free with the purchase of another jersey (Jason Taylor, with the purchase of a Haynesworth jersey. Circle of life, man.)