Nearly every team in the NFL has been busy this week trying to create some salary cap space before the start of free agency hits on March 17. One of those teams looking for extra cap room is the Arizona Cardinals and they cleared a big hole on Wednesday when the team decided to release cornerback Robert Alford.
Although Alford is now out of a job, he will be leaving Arizona with a unique story to tell: The 32-year-old made $15 million from the Cardinals without playing a single snap for them.
The Cardinals originally signed Alford to a three-year, $22.5 million deal back in February 2019 with the expectation that he would become their starting corner opposite Patrick Peterson. However, due to some bad luck, that never happened.
During his first preseason with the team, Alford broke his leg during practice which ended up sidelining him for the entire season. After several months of rehab, the cornerback was healthy enough to show up to training camp in 2020, but then disaster struck again. Back in August, Alford tore his pectoral muscle and once again, he was lost for the season.
Even if you’re injured in the NFL, you still get paid and because of that Alford was able to collect $14.95 million from the Cardinals over the past two seasons despite the fact that he didn’t play a single down for the team. Alford had one year left on his deal when the Cards cut him on Wednesday, but now that he’s gone, the team will pick up $7.5 million in salary cap space.
Before signing Alford, there was no indication that he would be battling injuries during his entire stay in Arizona. During the first six years of his career — which all came with the Falcons — he played in 88 of a possible 96 regular-season games. As a matter of fact, he made the most notable play of his career with the Falcons and that came in Super Bowl LI when he ripped off a pick-six against Tom Brady and the Patriots.
Even though Alford ended up playing in zero out of 32 games with the Cardinals, he was still able to leave Arizona with an extra $15 million in his pocket.