Arizona Cardinals parting ways with cornerback Robert Alford

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Robert Alford
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Robert Alford /

It seemed like a good idea at the time for the Arizona Cardinals. Back in 2019, the team was in desperate need of a competent cornerback to pair with the fabulous Patrick Peterson. Robert Alford, a veteran starter from the Atlanta Falcons, was handed the job after inking a three-year, $22.5 million deal with the Cards.

As it turned out, the acquisition will go down as one of the least-productive in Cardinals history. On Wednesday, the club announced that they are parting ways with Alford, a little over two years after signing him. In two campaigns with Arizona, the 32-year old failed to play even one regular-season down for a defense that badly needed his services.

In the summer of 2019, Alford suffered a broken bone in his leg that landed him on the injured-reserve list. A year later, in August of 2020, the defensive back tore a pectoral muscle during a training camp mishap. Both injuries were season-ending, and left the Cards scrambling for a replacement at the all-important position.

The Cardinals ended up paying Alford $13.5 million for basically nothing. By parting ways with the former Falcons draft pick, the franchise will save $7.5 million in salary-cap space. The release of Alford left just $1.5 million in dead money, a decision that was virtually a no-brainer for general manager Steve Keim and company.

Alford was drafted in the second round by Atlanta back in 2013. The 5’10, 186 pounder played his college ball at Southeastern Louisiana, where he was voted First-team All-Southland as a senior in 2012. In 88 NFL appearances (76 starts), Alford racked up 303 tackles, 10 interceptions, 85 passes defensed and two pick-sixes for the Falcons.

Cutting ties with Alford leaves Arizona with just one experienced player at the cornerback spot. Byron Murphy, a second-round selection in ’19, has 23 starts on his professional resume. Last fall, Murphy was credited with 51 tackles, eight pass breakups and two sacks in 15 contests (seven starts) for the Redbirds.

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Peterson, an eight-time Pro Bowler, is expected to test the free agent waters. Another Cards corner, Dre Kirkpatrick, is also scheduled to hit the market. It’s looking more and more like Big Red’s secondary is going to look a whole lot different this coming fall.