Robert Alford could be a huge bargain for Arizona Cardinals

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

The Arizona Cardinals hope that Robert Alford can play well in 2021 after injuries caused him to miss the previous two seasons.

Two years have now passed since the Arizona Cardinals front office made one of the most frustrating acquisitions in franchise history.

Cardinals general manager Steve Keim believed he had solved the club’s No. 2 cornerback dilemma when he signed veteran Robert Alford to a three-year, $22.5 million contract in 2019.

However, the optimism surrounding Alford went away when the cover guy suffered not one, but two season-ending injuries in consecutive summers. Cards management had seen enough, and proceeded to release the former Atlanta Falcons starter this past March.

Arizona Cardinals bring the snakebitten Robert Alford back into the nest shortly after cutting him

Two days after Arizona handed him a pink slip, Alford was brought back to the team at a significantly reduced salary. The 32-year-old, who had earned $13.5 million during his first two years with the Cardinals, will be paid just $990,000 in 2021.

The question is, will the injury-prone Alford stay healthy long enough to make it to his first regular-season appearance since 2018?

Keim and the Cards, in all honesty, would probably bet against it. Even so, the organization is hoping that Alford will finally compete in a meaningful game for the Redbirds this fall.

If that does occur, it’s quite possible that Arizona could be the recipients of one of the biggest bargains of the 2021 NFL campaign.

From the way things appear at the moment, Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph will be making heavy use of Alford during the upcoming season. At the time of this writing, free-agent addition Malcolm Butler and third-year defender Byron Murphy are the only Arizona corners besides Alford who have professional experience on their resume.

Before the debilitating setbacks that sidelined Alford in 2019 and 2020, the 5-foot-10,186-pounder was one heck of a shutdown cornerback for the Falcons. It was also reported that the former second-round draft pick was the best cover guy in both of the two Cardinals training camps he attended.

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Will Alford finally give Arizona some payback on the money they doled out to him over the past couple of years? Rest assured that the team’s hierarchy would like nothing better.