Daryl Washington will miss the entire 2014 season due to suspension, according to Mike Jurecki of FOX Sports. Washington earned a four-game suspension last season for a third violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy.
Update: The NFL has announced that the suspension is related to another violation of the league's substance abuse policy, according to Ross Jones of FOX Sports. Washington will forfeit one year of pay as a result, amounting to $2.9 million in base salary and $100,000 in a workout bonus.
Update 2: Washington released a statement indicating that the suspension is related to marijuana use.
Statement from Daryl Washington: pic.twitter.com/xaPuWAtk3S— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) May 30, 2014
According to Yahoo's Brian McIntyre, the Arizona Cardinals will likely seek to recoup the $12.5 million in signing and option bonuses they've paid Washington over the last two years. General manager Steve Keim released a strongly-worded statement in response to the suspension:
"It's completely unacceptable that Daryl has once again put us in this position. We all know what the consequences are and will deal with them. From a personal standpoint, our hope is that this suspension will give Daryl the opportunity to accept the necessary help and guidance to get his life back on track and we will certainly support him however we can.
"As it pertains to our team, our approach is the same as it's always been: next man up. We talk a lot about how critical depth is to a team because situations always arise where you lose players, whether by injury or other circumstances such as this one. One player's absence is another's opportunity. That approach has served us well in the past and we will rely on it now."
Washington signed an extension in 2012 worth four years and $32 million, just two years into his initial four-year rookie contract. According to Rotoworld's Nick Mensio, the Cardinals had just paid Washington a $10 million option bonus due to him in March.
The Cardinals linebacker had already been facing a 2014 suspension for violating the league's personal conduct policy. He pleaded guilty in March to felony aggravated assault charges stemming from an altercation with an ex-girlfriend, which earned him a year's worth of probation but no jail time.
The arrest took place on May 3, 2013, when Washington surrendered himself to police two days after his ex and mother of his child told authorities that he had pushed her and broke her collarbone after coming to her apartment on a routine visit of their daughter.
Commissioner Roger Goodell has the authority to deal out punishment as he sees fit, and it's possible that he took into account Washington's cumulative infractions.
It's unclear whether Washington failed a drug test to earn his one-year ban. Pro Football Talk reported at the time of his four-game suspension that Washington was not punished for three positive tests, but rather one positive test and two instances where he failed to follow protocols given to him.
The Cardinals' linebacking corps has undergone significant turnover since 2013. Prior to Washington, Karlos Dansby was the unit's biggest loss, after he signed with the Cleveland Browns near the start of free agency. Without the use of Washington and Dansby in 2013, the Cardinals could start veteran Larry Foote and 2013 second-round pick Kevin Minter in the middle of the defense.
The NFL's best LB corps
The NFL's best LB corps
Though the new duo could prove capable, there's no question that the Cardinals' defense could suffer as a result of Washington's suspension. He was named a second-team All-Pro in 2012 after racking up an impressive 134 total tackles, nine sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception. Last season, he and Dansby combined for 197 tackles and 9.5 sacks.
Washington's suspension could join him in company with Josh Gordon, who is also facing a season-long ban after testing positive for marijuana.