Robert Alford

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/21/20

Here are today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Chicago Bears

  • Placed on IR: TE Darion Clark

Indianapolis Colts

  • Claimed (from Panthers): TE Andrew Vollert

New York Jets

  • Signed: S Anthony Cioffi

Pittsburgh Steelers

Injury Notes: Alford, Hargrave, Jets, Tretter

Cardinals cornerback Robert Alford did indeed suffer a torn pectoral yesterday, and NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reports (via Twitter) that the injury will sideline the veteran for the 2020 season.

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 Tom Brady 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 Javon Hargrave 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 Fletcher Cox and Malik Jackson to form one of the top defensive tackle groupings in the NFL
  • Jets wideout Vyncint Smith 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 Josh Doctson 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’ Robert Alford Suffers Torn Pec

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. 

[RELATED: Cardinals Sign Kentrell Brice]

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Practice Notes: Eagles, Jets, Cardinals

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.

Cardinals Place Robert Alford On IR

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.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals’ Robert Alford Suffers Leg Injury

More bad news for the Cardinals’ secondary. Cornerback Robert Alford has suffered a tibia fracture, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (Twitter link). He’ll be sidelined for about two months, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter), leaving Arizona dangerously short-handed to start the season. 

The Alford injury stings a bit more after star cornerback Patrick Peterson was slapped with a six-game suspension for a PED violation. At minimum, the Cardinals’ pass defense is looking paper thin for games against the Lions, Ravens, Panthers, Seahawks, Cardinals, and Falcons. In the coming days, the Cardinals may look for a significant upgrade at cornerback or, at least, some additional depth.

For now, the Cardinals look to rely on Tramaine Brock and rookie Byron Murphy to start the season.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals Sign CB Robert Alford

The Cardinals have signed former Falcons cornerback Robert Alford to a three-year contract, the club announced today. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com first reported (via Twitter) that Alford, who was released by Atlanta earlier this week, was working out an agreement with the Cards.

Alford’s thee-year pact has a base value of $22.5MM and could be worth up to $24MM, tweets Rapoport. The ex-Falcons defensive back was earning $9.5MM annually under his Atlanta contract, so Alford will take a pay cut as he heads to the Cardinals. His deal reportedly contains $13MM in guarantees, although those are likely injury guarantees and not full guarantees.

Arizona has previously attempted to fill its No. 2 corner void by making veteran additions, and it’s worked at points, with Antonio Cromartie and Tramon Williams representing success stories opposite top defensive back Patrick Peterson. The Cardinals attempted a similar strategy in 2018 by acquiring Jamar Taylor from the Browns prior to the regular season, but he struggled in the desert and was ultimately released in November.

Career journeyman Bene Benwikere ended up playing the second-most snaps of any Cardinals cornerback last year, but Arizona ranked just 23rd in DVOA against opposing No. 2 wideouts, so they were searching for an upgrade. As a bonus, Alford won’t affect the Cards’ compensatory pick calculations given that he was a street free agent following his release from the Falcons.

Alford, 30, had been one of Atlanta’s 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 a season ago but posted arguably the worst campaign of his pro career. Pro Football Focus graded Alford as a bottom-10 cornerback league-wide, while he ranked dead last among 85 qualifiers in Football Outsiders’ yards per pass allowed and success rate.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Falcons To Release CB Robert Alford

Robert Alford‘s six-season tenure with the Falcons will come to an end. They are planning to release the veteran cornerback, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com reports (on Twitter).

The 30-year-old defender’s four-year deal already paid out most of its guarantees, and Alford was scheduled to carry a $9.1MM cap figure in 2019. The Falcons will be tagged with just $1.2MM in dead money.

This move will create $7.9MM in cap space for the Falcons, who entered Tuesday with barely $14MM to spend.

Cutting Alford still will sever ties with one of Atlanta’s longest-tenured players. The Southeastern Louisiana success story had been a Falcons starting corner since the 2014 season, a year after the team selected him in the second round of the 2013 draft. Alford went on to start 76 games, five playoff contests — including a Super Bowl LI duel that saw him return a Tom Brady interception 82 yards for a touchdown.

The Falcons drafted Isaiah Oliver in the 2018 second round, and the Colorado product profiles as the player being groomed to start alongside Desmond Trufant. Oliver saw only 240 snaps of action as a rookie, but he graded better than Alford did last season. Pro Football Focus viewed Alford’s sixth season as his worst in years, tabbing him as one of the league’s most ineffective corners. That said, he should still receive another opportunity soon.

In becoming a street free agent, Alford now has a head start on the cornerback market. While teams eyeing the top UFA corners may stay away, others believing a mid-level addition can help would profile as those who stand to be interested.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC South Notes: Saints, Brees, Alford, Falcons

It’s now 2017 or bust for the Saints‘ power trio of Drew Brees, coach Sean Payton, and GM Mickey Loomis, ESPN.com’s Mike Triplett opines. The Saints have shown gradual improvement over the past two years, but they’re now on pace for their third straight losing season and patience is wearing thin amongst fans. With Drew Brees signed to a one-year extension through 2017 that will really hamper them in ’18, the Saints are poised to go “all-in” next year, but they’ll have to get things right in free agency. In recent years, high-priced additions like safety Jairus Byrd, cornerback Brandon Browner, running back C.J. Spiller, tight end Coby Fleener, and linebacker James Laurinaitis have flopped.

More from the NFC South:

  • Under the terms of Robert Alford‘s four-year extension with the Falcons, the fourth-year cornerback will receive $21MM guaranteed — $12MM of that is fully guaranteed at signing, while the remaining $9MM becomes fully guaranteed on February 10, 2017, according to Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Because Alford is extremely unlikely to be cut before next spring, that $21MM total is “effectively” guaranteed, and would tie Alford for ninth among corners in terms of guaranteed money.
  • Offensive lineman Avery Young‘s practice window has expired, meaning the Saints will not be able to activate him from the non-football injury list for the remainder of the season, reports Nick Underhill of the Advocate (Twitter link). As Underhill tweeted last week, New Orleans has agreed to pay Young $10K per week while he’s on NFI. Technically, clubs are not required to compensate players on NFI, but most teams work out deals to pay sidelined players at a lower rate.

Dallas Robinson contributed to this post.

Falcons, Robert Alford Agree To Extension

The Falcons have signed cornerback Robert Alford to a four-year, $38MM extension, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The deal includes $21MM guaranteed. The team has since confirmed the deal via press release. Robert Alford (vertical)

Alford, a second-round pick in 2013, was slated to hit the open market after the season. Atlanta, unwilling to lose a player who has started in every game he’s appeared in over the last three years, shelled out significant money to keep him locked up instead. This year, he has 47 total tackles with two interceptions, bringing his career total to nine picks. He also has 12 passes defensed on the season, which leads the team.

It should be noted that Alford tends to rack up penalties, and that might have something to do with his ranking as just the 71st best corner in the NFL this season out of 122 qualified players, according to Pro Football Focus. In fact, three other Falcons cornerbacks are ranked higher for their work this year: Jalen Collins (No. 17), Desmond Trufant (No. 30), and Brian Poole (No. 42). So far this year, Alford has committed five pass interference penalties, one holding penalty, one illegal use of hands penalty, and an unnecessary roughness call. His five PI flags rank second to only D.J. Hayden of the Raiders who has six.

The size of this deal is a sign that the Falcons probably value Alford a little more than others outside of the organization do. But, it’s also an indication that this year’s free agent market will be inflated with lots of teams taking advantage of the increased cap.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.