Monday, January 24, 2022

49ers warned against adding a veteran after signing the $22.5 million deal

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The San Francisco 49ers have been struggling with a number of injuries but have seen promise from their cornerback unit during their postseason run.

However, should the ‘Niners consider signing some upgrades at the position during the 2022 free agency period, they are encouraged to avoid the addition of a certain veteran cornerback, who will be available soon in March 2022.

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And this cornerer, who once signed a three-year, $22.5 million deal during the February 2019 offseason, already knows the 49ers well: he currently plays for a playoff team from the San Francisco division.

In a Bleacher Report article by Alex Kay titled “1 Free Agent Every NFL Team Should Avoid This Offseason,” Kay encourages the ‘Niners to stay away from the addition of Arizona Cardinals’ Robert Alford.

The same Alford who scored a big deal through the cards. However, missed a lot of time in two seasons due to devastating injuries ranging from a broken leg (2019 season) to a grade 3 chest pectoral tear (2020).

Alford is currently on a one-year deal worth $990,000, according to Spotrac, and is scheduled to enter the free agency market in March 2022.

Kay believes there will be changes in the 49ers’ cornerback position postseason: He cites Josh Norman and Jason Verrett as two veterans “the team will likely part ways with.” Norman was recently benched for the 27-24 away win over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, Jan. 9, while Verrett was placed on injured reserve ahead of the start of the season. Kay adds that K’Waun Williams, who cast Nickelback for the ‘Niners, could be another tough decision from the 49ers’ front office.

“It’s inevitable that San Francisco will be looking for at least one significant defender in the free agent pool this offseason, but it should think twice before handing out a contract to Robert Alford,” Kay wrote.

What is the reason Kay convinced the ‘Niners to stop herself from running on Alford?

Worries about old age and injuries, that’s why.

On Alford’s side, he is 33 and has been in the league for eight seasons.

While Kay acknowledges the 5-foot-10 Alford has quietly established himself as a lockdown cornerback for the Cards, he still went down late in Week 14 with a chest injury.

Before his injury, Alford was delivering four pass breakups – including this one against top-seeded AFC Tennessee, which forced a turnover:

Also, according to Pro Football Reference, Alford hasn’t put together a full season since the 2017 season — that was during a time he was with the Atlanta Falcons.

His best year statistically was 2017, when he set career bests in tackles (68), solo stops (60), and pass breakups (20).

Alford will likely also be remembered by Falcon fans for this game… in a game most Falcon fans would probably prefer to forget.

Again, Kay believes Alford’s history with the IR list and his age should make the 49ers look the other way.

“Alford has managed to overcome two straight losing seasons to serve as Arizona’s top cornerback for most of the 2021 season. It was an impressive performance from the 33-year-old, but San Francisco shouldn’t bet on him repeating himself,” Kay wrote.

Kay added, “Given his age and continued injury streak over the past three seasons, the 49ers cannot afford to risk Alford staying healthy in 2022, even at budget costs.”

Also, according to Pro Football Reference, Alford hasn’t put together a full season since the 2017 season — that was during a time he was with the Atlanta Falcons.

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