The team announced the defensive back signed a four-year contract. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reports the deal is worth $38 million, with $21 million guaranteed, per a source informed of the deal. He also gets a $3 million signing bonus, plus a roster bonus of $7 million, both fully guaranteed.
The Falcons selected Alford in the second round of the 2013 draft. He was in the final year of his rookie contract.
Alford has experienced an up-and-down first four seasons but has proven a solid contributor in Dan Quinn’s scheme. He followed up a promising rookie campaign with a disastrous 2014, bounced back with stellar 2015 and is having a solid 2016 season. The corner has a tendency to get burned deep on occasion but also has come up with some big pass break ups. For his career, Alford has 47 passes defensed (12 this season) with nine interceptions.
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Playing across from Desmond Trufant — selected in the first round of the same draft — Alford sees the more of targets come his way than other corners of his caliber. With Trufant on IR with a torn bicep, locking down Alford became a priority for Atlanta.
The Falcons paid to keep Alford off the market. Per OverTheCap.com, Alford’s $38 million in total value places him tied for 15th highest paid at his position, alongside Raiders CB Sean Smith. The $21 million in guarantees is the 9th most among corners — which is the same guarantee Jimmy Smith earned in 2015, and more than the likes of Brandon Flowers, Jason McCourty and Vontae Davis.
Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn noted that the All-Pro receiver’s injury was a toe sprain, not turf toe, which is a positive in terms of recovery time. Jones missed last week’s pounding of the Los Angeles Rams.
The team will continue to evaluate Jones as the week wears on. His status for Sunday’s tilt versus the San Francisco 49ers remains up in the air, but Quinn was optimistic about future weeks.
“We’ll get him back here shortly,” Quinn said of Jones, via ESPN’s Vaughn McClure. “Good news it’s not a long-term thing.”
On the bright side for MVP candidate Matt Ryan, Mohamed Sanu returned to practice after missing last week’s win with a groin injury.
The Falcons wisely took a patient approach with their star pass-catcher, allowing him to rest ahead of the team’s critical playoff push. Currently notched as the NFC’s third seed, Atlanta steered through Jones’ absence with ease, posting 83 points over their past two games.
Receivers Mohamed Sanu and Taylor Gabriel picked up the slack, but adding Jones to the mix only bolsters an attack that leads the NFL in scoring under the guidance of quarterback and MVP candidate Matt Ryan.
It’s unclear how much time Jones will see against Carolina — the game script will go a long way toward answering that question — but it’s a tremendous relief for the Falcons to have their best player back in the mix.