The Arizona Cardinals are inching closer.
Five days after general manager Steve Keim said the team was hoping to set up a meeting with linebacker Daryl Washington, team owner Michael Bidwill said the franchise is moving closer toward making a decision on whether to bring Washington back to the fold in Arizona for the 2017 season.
According to Kent Somers of The Arizona Republic, representatives of the Cardinals met with Washington recently for the first time since Washington was suspended in 2014. Washington’s 2014 suspension stemmed from a domestic violence incident, and he remained suspended until late April when the league announced he received a conditional reinstatement.
On Wednesday morning, team owner Michael Bidwill acknowledged the Cardinals are in the process of determining whether they want to bring Washington back to Arizona, as the team still controls his rights. Washington spent three seasons out of football, and the former Pro Bowl linebacker is now 30 years old.
“This is the week we’re focusing on it,” Bidwill said during an interview with Adam Schein on Mad Dog Sports Radio. “I don’t see this as a 30-minute meeting. There’s a lot that needs to go into this in our analysis because we haven’t seen him in three years. There’s a lot more process we’re going to go through than just have a meeting. Everybody’s got to be comfortable to put him back on the field. We’re going to go through our process and hopefully have an answer one way or the other soon.”
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 still in control of his rights for the next two seasons as Washington is scheduled to make upward of $3 million.
At the time of Washington’s reinstatement, the Cardinals released a statement saying “it would be premature to discuss a potential return to the team,” but now that Arizona has concluded the NFL Draft and signed 17 undrafted free agents, the Cardinals are devoting their attention to Washington’s situation.