Cardinals interested in extending Daryl Washington

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Cardinals third-year linebacker Daryl Washington is coming off a terrific second NFL season that saw him record 107 tackles, five sacks, and two interceptions in 14 starts. The 47th overall pick in the 2010 draft, Washington has developed into a long-term building block on Arizona’s defense.

But to keep Washington in the fold long term, the Cards are going to have to pay. G.M. Rod Graves sounds willing.

“He’s a very talented player,” Graves acknowledged, “and he has demonstrated that he’s the type of guy that we want in our program for the long term. We’re hoping we can get to a point where we can sit down and talk about extending our relationship with him. He certainly is one that we’re focused on doing that with.”

While the Cardinals have yet to initiate a formal contract offer, Washington confirmed to the Associated Press that the sides have “talked back and forth” about a long-term agreement.

Washington wants to do the deal, too.

“I certainly want to be here for a long time,” he said. “This is where I want to end my career, hopefully.”

As of July 15, the Cardinals were sitting on $4.55 million of salary cap room. Washington’s 2012 base salary is scheduled to be $540,000 — the league minimum for a third-year veteran.