Cardinals picked up a $10 million option bonus on Washington

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The one-year-minimum suspension for Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington means that previously he had been in Stage 3 of the substance-abuse program.  Which means that he was subject to up to 10 drug tests per months.  Which means that he was one failed test away from a minimum one-year absence.

Which means the Cardinals knew.  Which means their decision to trigger a $10 million option bonus earlier this year was confusing, to say the least.

The good news for the Cardinals is that have paid only $5 million of the money so far.  The better news is that they can keep $2.5 million of that money with Washington gone for 2014.

The good news for Washington is that he can earn back the $2.5 million at the back end of his contract, since the entire deal by rule tolls for a year.  Which means that he’s now signed through 2018 instead of 2017.

If he’s never reinstated, the Cardinals can keep the $5 million they haven’t paid and, in theory, try to get $5 million back.  But if it ever comes to that, it will mean that the Cardinals will have never gotten Washington him back.

Either way, Washington has 10 million reasons to keep his nose (and urine) clean for the next year, so that he can get back to the league and start earning money he already has been paid — and will start losing at a rate of $2.5 million per year.

42 responses to “Cardinals picked up a $10 million option bonus on Washington

  1. Just use Big Ben’s defense team. His offense was worse and he recieved a much lighter penalty. They must be wizards!

  2. Is Washington still subject to testing while he’s on suspension?


    While a player is still a part of the league (and Washington still is, just suspended) testing can come at any time. Completely random

  3. The NFL needs to just stop dingin’ these guys for smokin’ dope. They’re not going to stop so why have a system in place that broadcasts it everywhere and makes the league look stupid for punishing these guys over an issue no one cares about anymore……

  4. Why is no one talking about how ignorant these penalties are in regards to how they justify them?
    We have human beings playing a sport, and even though they haven’t committed a crime within the U.S. justice system but have been caught by their sport’s leadership, getting year suspensions. A YEAR. That’s millions lost.
    But a man who OWNS a portion of the league itself can be a harm to civilians DWI and found with 26 THOUSAND dollars in prescription pills not in his name…….WHATS GOING ON ROGER???

  5. Is it too late to take back Keim’s “Executive of the Year” award?

  6. That’s the risk teams take by throwing in all these crazy signing bonuses, roster bonuses, option bonuses, etc to manipulate the salary cap. Every player in the league is one serious injury or serious dumb move (drugs, wife beater, murderer) from being done. If they stick to the old fashioned way of having players earn a game check by actually playing the game, they could avoid a lot of situations like this. That being said, picking up a $10 million bonus on a player in stage 3 is absolutely asinine.

  7. Everything is a choice. He can be an All Pro linebacker making millions and garnering fame and accolades, or he can smoke weed. Those are the choices he’s been offered in life. He consistently chooses weed. So let him have his choice. Cards can find someone else amongst the myriad of hopefuls with NFL dreams who will gladly take his place. Enjoy your life Daryl.

  8. NFL: Hey Darryl, smoke another joint and lose $20 million dollars and a year of eligibility.

    Darryl: Okay.

    Cardinals: Hey Darryl, here’s $10M.

    Darryl: Okay.

    Friend: Darryl, let’s celebrate! I’ll bring Billy Bong Thronton.

    Darryl: Okay.

  9. It’s only a matter of time before weed is legal on a federal level. Colorado is blazing the trail (you see what I did there?) and showing that it can be done responsibly and that the government can make a lot of money doing so. I could see Roger continuing to enforce this though even if it is legal, just because he can. Honestly, who cares about pot?? Alcohol is a far more destructive drug….

  10. When you repeatedly break a rule the punishment increases. He chose getting high over getting paid millions of dollars playing football. He has no one to blame except himself. Oh yeah, let’s not forget he plead guilty to hitting the mother of his child. Such a loser!

  11. Not sure how you can remotely try to excuse his actions. many of us can be drugged tested on our jobs, and if we fail, we are fired. This guy has failed at least 3 times, but is only suspended for 1 year. I am not a pot smoker, and live in a State that it is legal, but the league say’s it is illegal to use, so don’t use it. Do I think they should make it OK for the player to use? Yes, if he can get a prescription for it, but until then, don’t do it. Not that hard of a rule to follow. Get a script for pain pills, if you want to get high.

  12. Teams are paying out WAAAAY to much money for ILB. In todays NFL its by far the least important position and the easiest to fill. Theres about 30 star ILB in this league. Stop blowing your cap space on this position…

    Sean Lee, Luke Kuechly, Patrick Willis, Navarro Bowmann, Barrett Rudd, Ray Maualugo, Jon Vilma, AJ Hawk, Darryl Wshington, Kiko Alonzo, Brandon Spikes, Demeco Ryans, Karlos Dansby, Stephen Tulloch, Paul Posluszny, Derrick Johnson, Brian Cushing, Lawrence Timmons, Bobby Wagner, DQuell Jackson……..


  13. In defense of Mr. Keim, who I think is a fantastic GM, sure the team knew that he was on step 3 but they didn’t know that he had failed this latest test when they paid him his bonus. At some point you have to trust a player who has been punished to have learned his lesson…look at Tyrann Mathieu. He did his time and learned his lesson, and he has become a model citizen and budding superstar. If you say that you wouldn’t pay someone of Washington’s talents that bonus after he promised the team he’d keep his nose clean, you’re smoking something. They didn’t know he’d screw up again, and they took a chance on him.

  14. “Hmm.. $5 million or smoke some weed?”

    And all the potheads will say that pot doesn’t affect the way people think.

    and– Way to think ahead there, Cardinals. Real smart.

  15. First of all is there something I missed? Is there any reason why all of you are assuming he failed for refer? Seeing as the drug he failed for will never come out due to the confidentiality agreement of the CBA, none of you know what he failed for, you assume it’s refer, and you know what they say about assuming.
    I must say I feel like a champ, I gave up smoking weed, among other delinquent activities, for a lousy 100 grand, and this moron couldn’t do the same for 10 mil? Probably the only time I’ll win at life against a pro athlete.

  16. If the timelines are correct I have to question the NFL in not notifying the Cardinals about the failed test right away. This would have allowed them to decider if they were going to pay the bonus, be aggressive in FA and possibly draft a LB

  17. How an you even enjoy the high without massive anxiety when you’re being drug tested and now how much you stand to lose if you pee dirty?

  18. Billionaires taking money from Millionaires.

    Just play the game we pay for.

    Washington is stupid for breaking the drug rule, but save your hatred for Hernandez, Rice and Lewis.

  19. Big Ben didn’t need a defense team seeing as the police never had even a tiny bit of evidence to even CHARGE him with a crime. GIVING A WILLING GROUPIE A CLEVELAND STEAMER IN BAR BATHROOM MAY BE IMMORAL BUT CERTAINLAY NOT ILLEGAL.

  20. how come the team wasn’t notified that he failed the test. you can bet if they knew they wouldn’t give him ten mil knowing he was gone for a year. and thanks rodger for waiting until after the draft to do this.

  21. Fortunately for the Cardinals, ILB in a 3-4 is one of the easier positions to find in the draft and unlike a pass rushing DE or a shutdown CB, you don’t have to spend a top-60 draft pick and overpay for a kid who can start for you right away. I would suggest Keim and Co. start watching a lot of tape of ILBs who will be draft eligible in 2015 because it’s time to cut the cord on Mr. Washington.

  22. Keep his nose clean for the next year? If he can’t do it facing a one year suspension and millions waving in his face why would anyone think he’d do that no?

    Major bonehead move by Cardinals mngt.

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