Wednesday’s announcement that Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington will be suspended four games to start the 2013 season came after the internal appeal process ended. This means that the Cardinals and Washington knew the suspension was coming.
Per a source with knowledge of the contract, the Cardinals and Washington accounted for that possibility by nudging a $10 million option bonus from 2013 to 2014.
The move protects the Cardinals against the possibility that one more violation of the substance-abuse policy will result in a one-year suspension for Washington. Basically, he’ll have to complete the 2013 league year without another positive test or other violation before the $10 million comes due.
The adjustment reduced Washington’s 2013 cap number by $2 million, and it increases his cap numbers in the four final years of the contract by $500,000 per season. It also means that Washington will pocket, including his suspension, $1.936 million in 2013 — down from the $12.5 million he was due to earn this year.
Depending on the language of Washington’s contract, he also could be required to pay back a portion of his $2.5 million signing bonus.
The fact that Washington’s prior deal contained no guarantees beyond 2012 suggests that Washington had committed at least one violation of the substance-abuse policy before his new contract was signed last September. Beyond his signing bonus and a $2.5 million guaranteed salary in 2012, none of his $33.195 million deal was guaranteed.
Now, the single biggest payment under last year’s contract has been delayed.