What’s the safest DC athlete jersey to buy?

It’s a conundrum every sports fan faces at one point or another: Is it worth it to invest in this jersey?

Even for those who don’t believe in wearing jerseys anymore once they’ve reached a certain age, the question remains for gifts for the next generation, for children, and nieces and nephews. Sure, you’ve got your favorites, but will you be able to wear that piece of gear without regret at this time next year? What about three years from now, or five, or 10?

There are a good many factors to consider. How much has the player already accomplished, that if something tragic (an injury, a trade, an off-the-field incident) happened tomorrow, you would still be happy with the purchase? How many years can you reasonably expect them to still play for your team, and how productive should you expect them to be during that time? Once outside the lines, are they the type of human you’d be happy with whom to so closely associate yourself? And what kind of long-term legacy can you expect them to have once they are gone?

In that spirit, we polled a few members our WTOP sports staff (sports director George Wallace, sports anchors Dave Preston and Rob Woodfork, and myself) to pick the 10 safest bets for a D.C., big five pro athlete jersey right now. Any ranking like this is sure to be fluid as the games are played and players move into and out of town. Our results were a bit unexpected. Considering we disagreed among ourselves, you may well disagree with our final outcome.

The four of us ranked players in five different categories on a 1-5 scale, for a total of 100 possible points. The categories: Expected time remaining playing for a D.C. team, past performances and credentials for a D.C. team, future upside, character (especially off the field), and team legend status/Hall of Fame probability.

Here’s what we came up with.

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 14: Wayne Rooney #9 and Luciano Acosta #10 of D.C. United celebrate after Paul Arriola #7 (not pictured) scored a goal in the second half against the Vancouver Whitecaps at Audi Field on July 14, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Near misses: Wayne Rooney, Da’Ron Payne (71 points), Luciano Acosta, Paul Arriola (70 points), Trent Williams, T.J. Oshie, Sean Doolittle, John Carlson (69 points) A bevy of athletes landed just outside our Top 10. A return to championship form would no doubt be a big boost for the D.C. United players on this list, and a second Stanley Cup could have helped raise the Caps players’ profiles higher as well. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images) (Getty Images/Patrick McDermott)
Stephen Strasburg
10. Stephen Strasburg (72 points) If you can believe it, Strasburg is pitching his 10th season in a Nationals uniform this year. He just passed Gio Gonzalez as the franchise leader in innings pitched since the team moved to Washington and is closing in on 1,500 career strikeouts. The 30-year-old has never finished higher than third in the Cy Young, but has made four All-Star teams and still has four years left on his extension (assuming he doesn’t opt out), earning him a spot in our Top 10. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson) (AP/Brynn Anderson)
Washington Nationals' Trea Turner (7) celebrates his three-run home run with Victor Robles, center, and Adam Eaton (2) during the third inning of a baseball game against the New York Mets, Sunday, March 31, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
9. Trea Turner (74 points) Turner gets his biggest boosts from his projected time remaining in D.C. and his future upside. He’s stolen more bases since 2017 than all but two other players in baseball (Billy Hamilton and Dee Gordon) and he’s been worth nearly 11 WAR already in his career. A broken finger derailed a promising start to this season, but Turner will be back soon enough and won’t be a free agent until at least 2023, giving him plenty of chances to further solidify his spot on this list. (AP Photo/Nick Wass) (AP/Nick Wass)
Washington Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan (91) warms up during an NFL football team practice, Wednesday, June 13, 2018, in Ashburn, Va. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
T-7. Ryan Kerrigan (75 points) Without a popular, franchise skill position player, Kerrigan stands atop the entries from the Burgundy and Gold on our list. A four-time Pro Bowler, he’s sixth among all active NFL players with 84.5 career sacks and fourth in forced fumbles (25). He’s also beloved off the field, recognizable enough to show up in local pizza ads or at the rink, chugging a beer through his jersey in tribute to T.J. Oshie. (AP Photo/Nick Wass) (AP/Nick Wass)
Tony Tchani, Bill Hamid
T-7. Bill Hamid (75 points) Wayne Rooney may be the captain with the international legacy, but nobody has been through the ups and downs with D.C. United like Hamid has. Still one of the top keepers not just in MLS, but in America, the first-ever homegrown signing from Annandale has logged more than 200 games in goal for the Black and Red, notching 58 clean sheets. Whatever his US Men’s National Team future holds, they can’t hold him back. He’s already a legend in D.C. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)
Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby (70) stops the puck during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Calgary Flames, Friday, Feb. 1, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
6. Braden Holtby (77 points) Speaking of netminders, few have endeared themselves to the D.C. community both on and off the playing surface like Holtby has. From the Holtby Grail that swung last year’s Stanley Cup Finals to his ongoing support for the LGBTQ community, the 29-year-old Canadian has made himself into a hometown favorite. (AP Photo/Nick Wass) (AP/Nick Wass)
Washington Nationals' Juan Soto (22) hits a line drive single to centerfield during the first inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018, in Atlanta. Bryce Harper scored on the play. (AP Photo/John Amis)
T-4. Juan Soto (78 points) No player in any sport has the combination of upside and time remaining under contract in D.C. with which to show it that Soto does — he notched perfect scores in both categories from all four voters. Coming off a second-place finish in Rookie of the Year voting a year ago, Soto ostensibly stepped into the hole Bryce Harper left both in right field and on this list. If he can add some hardware for himself and his team, he has the chance to rise even higher. (AP Photo/John Amis)   (AP/John Amis)
Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8), of Russia, shoots the puck during the second period of Game 2 of an NHL hockey first-round playoff series against the Carolina Hurricanes, Saturday, April 13, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
T-4. Alex Ovechkin (78 points) This was a stunner. Ovi notched perfect scores for his past performance and legend status, but his limited future upside as a 33-year-old (yes, despite the fact he keeps notching 50-goal seasons) kept some overall scores lower. If you’d asked me to handicap who I thought would have finished first when we started this exercise, I would have picked Ovechkin — in the end, he couldn’t even crack the Top 3. (AP Photo/Nick Wass) (AP/Nick Wass)
Washington Nationals' Anthony Rendon celebrates in the dugout after he scored on a double by Juan Soto during the third inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants, Thursday, April 18, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
3. Anthony Rendon (81 points) Rendon’s status in this poll relied on a generally optimistic view that the Nationals will re-sign him to a long extension before he hits free agency this fall. Rendon’s been a quiet superstar in the way Ryan Zimmerman was earlier in his career (we might as well just get this out of the way now: with his career in its twilight, Zim isn’t in the Top 10). And while the team can keep touting Rendon’s fWAR, he hasn’t notched a Top 5 MVP finish or even made an All-Star Game, more an indicator of his lack of a national profile than his talent. (AP Photo/Nick Wass) (AP/Nick Wass)
Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) reacts after he made a basket during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies, Saturday, March 16, 2019, in Washington. The Wizards won 135-128. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
2. Bradley Beal (82 points) How the tide has shifted for the Wizards in the last couple years. John Wall’s long been the face of the franchise, but persistent injuries have left his future cloudy and taken him off the court for more than half the team’s games the last two years. Enter: Beal. He’s made the All-Star Team each of these last two seasons and is coming off a career year in Wall’s absence. Still just 25, he’s three years younger, and has taken on the D.C. community as his home. He’s got at least two more years under contract in D.C., with much of our panel expecting the Wizards to commit to trying to keep him moving forward. (AP Photo/Nick Wass) (AP/Nick Wass)
Max Scherzer
1. Max Scherzer If there’s a face of the Nationals now, it’s Scherzer’s. He may not have been drafted by the organization, but he’s quickly made himself its most indispensable player. Since arriving in D.C., he’s got more than 100 more strikeouts than the next closest MLB pitcher. He’s the only starter holding opponents under a .200 batting average during that time. Oh, and he’s finished in the Top 5 in the Cy Young every year, winning it twice. The only thing left for Scherzer is a title, which might solidify him atop this list for years to come. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson) (AP/Brynn Anderson)
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WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 14: Wayne Rooney #9 and Luciano Acosta #10 of D.C. United celebrate after Paul Arriola #7 (not pictured) scored a goal in the second half against the Vancouver Whitecaps at Audi Field on July 14, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Stephen Strasburg
Washington Nationals' Trea Turner (7) celebrates his three-run home run with Victor Robles, center, and Adam Eaton (2) during the third inning of a baseball game against the New York Mets, Sunday, March 31, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Washington Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan (91) warms up during an NFL football team practice, Wednesday, June 13, 2018, in Ashburn, Va. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Tony Tchani, Bill Hamid
Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby (70) stops the puck during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Calgary Flames, Friday, Feb. 1, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Washington Nationals' Juan Soto (22) hits a line drive single to centerfield during the first inning of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018, in Atlanta. Bryce Harper scored on the play. (AP Photo/John Amis)
Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8), of Russia, shoots the puck during the second period of Game 2 of an NHL hockey first-round playoff series against the Carolina Hurricanes, Saturday, April 13, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Washington Nationals' Anthony Rendon celebrates in the dugout after he scored on a double by Juan Soto during the third inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants, Thursday, April 18, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal (3) reacts after he made a basket during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies, Saturday, March 16, 2019, in Washington. The Wizards won 135-128. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Max Scherzer

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