It is only the start of the preseason and the Arizona Cardinals are still looking ahead to their future, as well as their present. According to CBS Cardinals blogger Craig Morgan, the team is looking to extend the contracts of linebacker Daryl Washington and running back/kick returner LaRod Stephens-Howling.
Washington is a budding star. He led the team in tackles a season ago with 107, and had five sacks and two interceptions to go with it. He is one of the centerpieces of the defense this year and will be used all over the field. He is starting his third season in the league.
It is rare that teams will try to renegotiate the contract of a player just two years into his rookie deal. "Most of the time, no. Certainly not recently. It shows you how much value we put on Daryl Washington," general manager Rod Graves said. "He's a core player," Graves said. "We haven't sat down to talk contact, but we anticipate doing that soon. He's under consideration like several others. The main point is to keep the group together."
Considering the potential he has, doing a new deal is very wise. He is quickly becoming one of the best in the league at his position.
Stephens-Howling is in his fourth season with the team and was signed to a one-year restricted free agent tender. As seventh round pick originally, he was tendered with second-round protection last offseason.
It is more interesting that he would be a priority for a contract. He is the team's most dangerous playmaker in the open field, but gets very few touches. He returns kicks, but rules changes have diminished the value of someone in that position.
It would likely be to lower his cap number for his role with the team and keep him in Arizona, which is a great thing because of his contributions to the team. However, perhaps it is signaling the fact that he may be getting more touches on offense and the team plans on using him in more ways to impact games.
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