Arizona Cardinals star inside linebacker Daryl Washington has been in trouble with the law multiple times over the course of his four-year career, and he was suspended for four games last season. Despite all of the off-field red flags, the Cardinals decided to activate his $10 million option bonus due to his incredible play on the field, as Washington is one of the NFL’s best linebackers and showed even better all-around play than expected last season. That decision has come back to bite the Cardinals, though it’s clearly more of an indictment on Washington’s dreadful behavior and decision-making, as opposed to foolishness from Steve Keim and the Cardinals front office. In the aftermath of Washington’s latest issue, Keim was clearly beyond seething at the 27-year-old.
Washington will be suspended for at least one season for marijuana usage, but his aggravated assault charge is the biggest issue on his laundry list of red flags. He deserves to have the hammer hit him hard for his recklessness, though the marijuana charge is small stuff in comparison to that assault. I mean, if you think Josh Gordon and Justin Blackmon are knuckleheads, then take a gander at Washington’s resume.
So why haven’t the Cardinals released Washington, whereas the Jacksonville Jaguars seem ready to let Blackmon go? Well, it looks like the only thing keeping the Cards from axing their talented ILB is money. ESPN’s Ed Werder reports that the Cardinals are looking to get off the hook for paying at least a portion of his $10 million option bonus, since they haven’t actually paid it out yet. The Cardinals believe that all of his issues indicate that Washington doesn’t deserved to be paid this total, and we’ll see if they actually have a case here. My guess is that the league will force them to pay the money they agreed to, because they knew full well about Washington’s off-field transgressions at the time of their decision.