Moving quickly against a number of other teams, the Arizona Cardinals inked free agent cornerback Robert Alford to a three-year deal worth up to $24 million with $13.5 million of that guaranteed.
That’s been the theme for the Cardinals this year, moving quickly and beating out other teams.
The rub on Alford is that he played 2018 while battling through a high ankle sprain, sending his play tumbling downward in effectiveness.
Ryan McCrystal of Bleacher Report had some interesting info:
New Cardinals DC Vance Joseph used man coverage versus 52.6 percent of opponents dropbacks in 2018 with Denver (2nd highest rate in NFL).— Ryan McCrystal (@Ryan_McCrystal) February 7, 2019
QBs vs Robert Alford in man coverage this season: 31-41 (75.6%), 504 yards, 8 TD, 0 Int (via @SportsInfo_SIS) https://t.co/V1iYN5dXmA
That’s the crux of the concern for Cardinals fans and one shared throughout much of the NFL community.
It’s not that Alford cannot play, in fact he’s been rather steady as a solid CB2 for a number of years, it is what does he have left in the tank?
If 2018 was an injury aberration, that is great, but he is also 30 years old, meaning his play could just be hitting the decline.
On the other hand, my buddy Ian Wharton likes the move for the Cardinals. Ian yearly breaks down corner play and isn’t overly concerned with Alford bouncing back.
He was surprised however that Alford was essentially able to get two guaranteed years on the deal.
Which begs the question... Was that necessary for the Cardinals to best the other six interested teams?
While we wait to see who Alford is as a player still, there have been some interesting ideas of what the signing signals.
- The Cardinals are still in the market for another CB as Alford would likely fill the roll of slot CB.
- Bradley Roby’s name keeps coming up, could the Cardinals essentially double down in FA?
- Could the Cardinals still be keying on a CB in the first three rounds of the draft?
The reality is that Steve Keim has put the CB2 position on the back burner the last six seasons, now, for the first time in his tenure he is looking to address it in the long-term.
That’s a good start.