The 49ers have drawn the ire of the league office. The NFL docked San Francisco the “last week of their rookie development program for a violation of offseason work rules,” sources told Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link). Pelissero reports that the team’s infraction took place during their rookie minicamp. As for what that infraction was, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports tweets the punishment stems “from minimal contact that appeared on a social media video when contact was prohibited during rookie camp.”
Sounds pretty minor. Maiocco adds that the now-scrapped last week of their rookie development program “was to consist of non-football and life skills,” so it’s doubtful that 49ers brass is going to lose too much sleep over it.
Here are a couple other nuggets from around the NFC West on a quiet Sunday night:
Cornerback Robert Alford has dealt with a lot of adversity the past couple seasons. Alford signed a three-year, $22.5MM deal with the Cardinals in 2019, but has yet to play a down for the team. He missed all of 2019 with a broken leg, and all of 2020 with a torn pec. He was unsurprisingly released this offseason, but quickly re-signed on a one-year deal. As it turns out that new deal is for the veteran’s minimum, as Darren Urban of the team’s official site writes. It also turns out Alford never had any intention of leaving. “He basically told us ‘Hey I want to come back, I owe you guys, so I’ll come back for whatever deal because I owe the organization, I owe the Cardinals and want to prove y’all were right about me,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury said, who added “we respect that a ton.” It sounds like Alford is going to be playing with a chip on his shoulder, and here’s to hoping he can stay healthy in 2021. The 32-year-old was a quality starter in Atlanta before the injuries derailed his career in the desert.
Punter Johnny Hekker is the longest-tenured member of the Rams. He’s a fan-favorite, leader in the locker room, and four-time first-team All-Pro. And even his job isn’t safe. In a testament to the ‘easy come easy go’ nature of the NFL, Hekker now has some real competition in Rams camp. The Oregon State product is coming off a season where he had a career-low yards per punt average and is the highest-paid punter in the league with a cap number of $4.9MM this year, as Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times writes. Speaking to the media recently, Hekker was frank about his status. “I definitely did not perform to the best of my abilities,” last season, he stated plainly. Although Sean McVay has denied the team is looking to move on from Hekker, the veteran said he’s treating recently-signed Corey Bojorquez as serious competition and operating as if he’s fighting for his job. He also added that “there’s no running around the financial aspect of it.” This will be a situation to keep an eye on this summer.
The Cardinals are bringing back Robert Alford (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). Alford was released by the team earlier this week, but he’s agreed to return on a cheaper contract.
Alford signed a three-year, $22.5MM deal with the Cardinals in 2019, but never suited up for them. First, he fractured a tibia in August of 2019, leaving him on injured reserve for the season. Then, in August of 2020, he suffered a season-ending pec tear. As Rapoport says, he has “unfinished business” in the desert.
Alford entered the league as a second-round pick of the Falcons in 2013 and spent his first six pro seasons with Atlanta. The 32-year-old (33 in October) is now a few years removed from his best work. Alford started 15 games in 2018 but it the worst campaign of his pro career. Pro Football Focus graded him as a bottom-10 cornerback league-wide that year. He also ranked dead last in Football Outsiders’ yards per pass allowed and success rate in 2018.
March 10th, 2021 at 4:55pm CST by Andrew Ortenberg
Robert Alford‘s Cardinals tenure has come to an unceremonious end. Arizona has released the veteran cornerback, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets.
Alford signed a three-year, $22.5MM deal with the Cardinals in 2019, but will end his stint in the desert never having played in a game for them. He fractured a tibia in August of 2019 that cost him all of that season, and then tore a pec this past August which knocked him out for all of 2020. A second-round pick of Atlanta back in 2013, Alford spent the first six years of his career with the Falcons.
He was pretty durable during those years, playing at least 15 games in all but one season (10 in 2014). Unfortunately the injury bug has bit him hard, and he hasn’t suited up since the 2018 season when he started 15 games for the Falcons. A quality starter for a while, it’s anyone’s guess what he’ll look like now.
Alford turned 32 in November, and will likely struggle to find guaranteed money in a tough market coming off back to back season-ending injuries.
The release saves the Cardinals about $7.5MM in cap space for this season. As Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com points out in a tweet, this leaves the Cards with only one non-reserve/futures cornerback under contract for next season, 2019 second-rounder Byron Murphy.
This is a tough outcome for both Alford and the organization. Arizona inked the defensive back to a three-year, $22.5MM deal in 2019, but Alford missed his first season with the organization after suffering a leg injury. There was optimism out of the Cardinals’ camp that Alford would return to full strength in 2020, but this injury has obviously put a snag in his comeback attempt.
Alford spent the first six seasons of his career with the Falcons, collecting 303 tackles and 10 interceptions in 88 games (76 appearance). The veteran also appeared in five playoff games for Atlanta, and he had had a pick-six on TomBrady during the Falcons’ Super Bowl loss to the Patriots.
Pro Football Focus wasn’t fond of his performance during his last healthy campaign in 2018, so this could realistically be the end for the 31-year-old.
Let’s check out some more injury updates from around the NFL…
The Eagles got some good news today, as they learned that defensive tackle JavonHargrave suffered only a “minor pectoral strain” (via ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Twitter). The injury is expected to sideline the veteran for only a few weeks. The 27-year-old inked a three-year, $39MM deal with Philly this past offseason after compiling 60 tackles and four sacks with the Steelers in 2019. When he’s back to full health, he’ll join FletcherCox and MalikJackson to form one of the top defensive tackle groupings in the NFL
Jets wideout VyncintSmith will miss the next five to eight weeks as he recovers from a core-muscle injury, tweets ESPN’s Rich Cimini. The 24-year-old got into 13 games (four starts) for New York last season, hauling in 17 receptions for 225 yards. As Cimini notes, the organization could be scrambling for receiver depth, as JoshDoctson has opted out of the upcoming season and rookie Denzel Mims is sidelined with a hamstring injury.
Browns center J.C. Tretter underwent a minor knee procedure and will miss the next few weeks, reports Rapoport (via Twitter). The veteran opted for the procedure to clean up loose bodies and remedy discomfort. The NFLPA President has spent the past three seasons with Cleveland, starting each of the team’s 48 games.
Cardinals cornerback Robert Alford suffered a pectoral injury in practice yesterday, sources tell Ian Rapoport and Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter). Alford is now awaiting word on the diagnosis and a timeline for recovery.
This is, unfortunately, familiar territory for Alford. A leg injury in August of last year cost Alford the entire season. The Cardinals inked the veteran to a three-year, $22.5MM deal in 2019 and he has yet to take a single snap for Arizona.
Alford, 31, had been one of the Falcons’ longest-tenured players, as he’d been with the club since being selected in the second round of the 2013 draft. An 88-game veteran, Alford started 15 games in 2018 but posted arguably the worst campaign of his pro career. Pro Football Focus graded Alford as a bottom-10 cornerback league-wide that year. He also ranked dead last among 85 qualifiers in Football Outsiders’ yards per pass allowed and success rate.
Alford was eager to prove himself all over again this year, but he may have to wait until next year.
November 27th, 2019 at 11:24am CST by Marc Delucchi
The Eagles got positive news on the injury front regarding three of their biggest weapons Wednesday, according to Ian Rapoport. Wide receivers Alshon Jeffery (ankle) and Nelson Agholor (knee) are full participants in practice today and running back Jordan Howard (shoulder), while not yet back to practice, is “trending the right way.”
All three players missed Sunday’s game against the Seahawks, Jeffery and Howard have not played since November 3rd. Philadelphia’s offense has struggled mightily in recent weeks. Most of the blame has fallen on the shoulders of quarterback Carson Wentz, but it would surely help their signalcaller to have some more weapons.
Here’s some more notes on practice status around the league:
Jets head coach Adam Gase told reporters he expects cornerback Darryl Roberts is expected to return after missing two games with a calf injury, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN. Right tackle Chuma Edoga will not practice today and left tackle Kelvin Beachum will be limited as well. The Jets are in the midst of a three-game win streak in hopes to rebound from what looked like a lost season.
While Cardinals offensive tackle Jordan Mills was designated for return from the injured reserve earlier today, cornerback Robert Alford, though, will not be joining his teammate, according to Darren Urban of AZCardinals.com. Alford, a six-year veteran, fractured his tibia prior to the season and was placed on injured reserve with the possibility to return. However, per Urban, that possibility is no longer an option.
September 1st, 2019 at 6:35pm CST by Zachary Links
On Sunday night, the Cardinals placed cornerback Robert Alford on injured reserve to make room for the arrival of Cassius Marsh. Alford suffered a tibia fracture earlier this month, which calls for at least another six weeks in recovery. By placing him on IR, the Cardinals have made him ineligible for at least eight games.
The Alford injury hurts Arizona, especially since star cornerback Patrick Peterson is serving a six-game suspension for a PED violation. The Cardinals will do their best to get by against the Lions, Ravens, Panthers, Seahawks, Bengals, and Falcons without P2, and the Giants and Saints (and perhaps others) without Alford.
If all goes well in Alford’s recovery, he could conceivably return for Arizona’s Oct. 31 game against the Niners. For now, the Cardinals will rely on Tramaine Brock and rookie Byron Murphy to start the season.