According to the Associated Press, the Cardinals have approached Daryl Washington about a long term extension and that the two sides have “talked back and forth,” though no official offer has been made. Washington, a 2010 2nd round pick, still has 2 years left on his rookie contract, but, with no players of note heading into contract years, it appears the Cardinals are looking to get a head start on negotiations with Washington.
Washington was Arizona’s leader in tackles last season and graded out as ProFootballFocus’ 10th ranked middle linebacker, grading out above average against the run, in coverage, and as a blitzer, adding 6 sacks, 5 quarterback hits, and 19 quarterback pressures. Heading into his 3rd year in the league, he has a good chance to make his first Pro Bowl in 2012.
I don’t expect the two sides to reach a deal this offseason though, as it’s more likely that the Cardinals are just having preliminary talks with him so there’s less to do next offseason, when he becomes an obvious extension candidate. The Cardinals likely want to see him prove it again and they have him under contract for 2 years at just over a million dollars combined. It’s very rare to see a player extended after just two seasons. Antonio Brown and Rob Gronkowski are obvious exceptions from this offseason, but Brown would have been an unrestricted free agent in 2013 and Gronkowski is just on another level.