Arizona Cardinals: Time to cut Daryl Washington?
By Erich Becker
Has the Time come for the Arizona Cardinals to admit the $10m mistake on Daryl Washington and cut the Linebacker?
For the last two seasons Arizona Cardinals fans have been holding up a dimming candle for the return of once-explosive linebacker Daryl Washington, the oft-suspended, fast, edge rusher who could play coverage as well as get to the quarterback.
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Since Washington’s last suit up in Cardinals red nearly a year and a half ago the roster has churned, the coaches and fellow players have to be a little bit tired of always being asked, “What’s the status with Washington?” Per numerous sources, all relating back to Fox Sports 910’s Mike Jurecki question to NFL spokesman Greg Aiello, there has been “no change” in Washington’s status after being suspended all of last season for substance violations.
Washington is pending suspension, if reinstated, for a violation of the personal conduct policy in relation to a domestic abuse case which could cost him another 4-6 games. Tie that into a four game suspension for his first violation of the aforementioned substance abuse policy and you’ve gotten three-fourths of a season from a remarkable, but troubled player over the last two years.
The kicker is the Cardinals have owed Washington the last two seasons, equal to $5m guaranteed base salary and $2.5m signing bonuses paid last year and this year at a time when he wasn’t eligible to play. While the cap savings for cutting him, according to contract details is actually less than keeping him on the active roster ($8.5m vs. $6.5m).
What it comes down to is dead money in the eyes of the front office and fans alike. Pay for a player who isn’t playing, but could, at what level, we may never know, or distance yourself from a troubled player, pay him even more (as your books show) to be disassociated from him.
It’s very likely that Daryl Washington will play in the NFL again, if he really wants to, with the devoid of great middle linebackers, especially with the speed to run a 4.6s 40 yard dash, plays well in coverage and can move all over the field, teams that are okay taking risks will take a chance, and maybe that is what the Cardinals are doing here, taking a risk, riding this all out, or both personnel interest and financially speaking, to see what Washington can bring back to the table when he does play again, be it Week 6 of 2015 or Week 1 of 2016.
When you look at players like Greg Hardy and Adrian Peterson, teams will take troubled players because they are good, because it could be less expensive to bring in an established, high level player, with off-the-field issues than hope one of your draft picks hits at the same playing level.