The Cardinals are clearly attempting to bolster their linebacker depth, but does that mean the team is still willing to consider bringing linebacker Daryl Washington back into the fold?
Washington was suspended by the NFL prior to the start of the 2014 season, but last week, Washington received a conditional reinstatement from the league after spending nearly three years off the field. The suspension stemmed from multiple substance abuse violations and a guilty plea to an aggravated assault charge, and due to the suspension, Arizona was unable to have contact with Washington until he received a conditional reinstatement last week.
According to general manger Steve Keim, Arizona will at least do its due diligence with Washington, who made a Pro Bowl appearance for the Cardinals following the 2012 season and was one of the top linebackers in the league prior to his legal issues.
"To be quite honest with you, we have had dialogue with his agent, but have not had a chance to talk with Daryl yet, just because of how busy we've been," Keim said in an interview with SiriusXM radio host Adam Schein. "We will attend to that in the near future and obviously get a chance to talk with Daryl and see what is going on."
Washington signed a six-year contract extension with the Cardinals in the summer of 2012 that promised to keep him with the organization through the 2018 season. While the Cardinals did not have to pay Washington's salary while he was suspended, the organization is on the hook for Washington for the 2017 and 2018 season as he's scheduled to make upward of $3 million each year.
While it's uncertain whether the Cardinals would consider bringing Washington back to the team this fall and whether Washington is still in playing shape, Keim said during his interview that the franchise's key decision-makers do want to hear an update on the progress Washington has made and where he stands at this point in time.
"There will be a sit-down with Michael Bidwill, our president and our owner, and myself and coach Arians, and again more than anything, an educational briefing on, 'Just where have you been the last three years, what's going on in your life?" Keim said. "Once that meeting occurs, there will be a decision made."
It's unclear whether the Cardinals were anticipating Washington's reinstatement when it took place last week, but at the time of the reinstatement, Arizona was squarely focused on the NFL Draft.
Last Tuesday, the team released a statement saying that "it would be premature to discuss a potential return to the team" for Washington last week, but now that the NFL Draft has come and gone, Keim, Bidwill and Arians have more time to consider if Washington has any sort of a future with the Cardinals.