The future of Williams and Washington

Posted by Darren Urban on February 20, 2014 – 4:01 pm

In much different ways, the immediate football future of both running back Ryan Williams and linebacker Daryl Washington remains in a bit of limbo. Williams, the 2011 second-round pick whose first two seasons were all but a wash because of injuries, barely made the roster this season but ended up inactive for all 16 games. Washington, who was suspended for the first four games of the season after violating the league’s substance abuse policy, came back to play well and help anchor the league’s sixth-ranked defense. But Washington was arrested for assault of an ex-girlfriend last offseason, and the case is still winding its way through the court system. Washington’s next court date is scheduled for April and he could face a league suspension again depending on the result — but he also has a big bonus due him next month.

With each of those situations in context, General Manager Steve Keim talked about each with

— On Ryan Williams: “Ryan is a tremendous talent,” Keim said. “He’s a guy who still, on the practice field, shows us the movement skills, the run ability, the change of direction is fantastic. Obviously he has had to battle injuries, which has probably been his biggest issue. And last year, bringing in Stepfan Taylor and Andre Ellington and the impact both of those players made instantly put Ryan on the backburner.

“He’s a guy we still have hopes for. He’s still got the ability and I think Bruce (Arians) just wants him to put it all together.”

Williams is due a salary just north of $1 million this season, with a cap hit of $1.5M. Releasing him would save $1 million. Keim talked up Taylor Thursday, and it seems at this point an Ellington/Taylor duo is more probable than Ellington/Williams, but Keim made it sound like Williams isn’t going anywhere for now.

— As for Washington, “Nothing new,” Keim said. “We monitor everything when it comes to his off-field stuff. Rick Knight, our (vice president) of security, handles a lot of that. Daryl was a guy who made mistakes in the past and he’s (owned) up to those. He’s done a fantastic job in terms of his work ethic and being accountable. We hope to get everything resolved shortly and look forward to a huge year out of Daryl in 2014.”

That the Cardinals would have no doubt of keeping around one of their best players is not a surprise. Washington said after the season he was hoping it would get cleared up soon, but he always talked like he planned on being a long-term Cardinal and that shouldn’t change.


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25 Responses to “The future of Williams and Washington”

  1. By William Barry on Feb 20, 2014 | Reply

    Ryan Williams and Daryl Washington have huge upsides…to BA and Keim, please keep these two players…..they will pay dividends down the road.

  2. By Ryan on Feb 20, 2014 | Reply

    Hey Darren does the 13 million available under the cap, include D-Washes Bonus?

  3. By Darren Urban on Feb 20, 2014 | Reply

    Ryan —

    RE: Cap space

    Don’t know where you are getting 13M of cap room.

    As for the bonus, I believe it will be pro-rated, but I am not certain.

  4. By andystandsup on Feb 20, 2014 | Reply

    Washington’s 10 million bonus can be restructured, correct Darren?

  5. By Darren Urban on Feb 20, 2014 | Reply

    Andystands —

    RE: Washington bonus

    They can change the contract any way they want, if both sides agree.

  6. By Andrew on Feb 20, 2014 | Reply

    I love both of these guys and have had the chance to meet both of them. Ryan Williams is seriously one of the nicest guys on the roster. And I find it terribly upsetting that everything hasn’t gone his way. I really, really like Ryan Williams and I’m dying to see him prove the critics wrong. But I think this year should be his last year if he doesn’t produce. I think he has great capability, but he must stay healthy. I really want to see him succeed. As for Washington. He’s a beast, and I think a very underrated player in the NFL. I really think he’s up there with the best line backers in the league like Bowman and such. I would hate to see him go under another suspension. I guess we will see what happens in time. Thanks for the article, Darren.

  7. By Patrick Hoog aka Don't Take Losses on Feb 20, 2014 | Reply

    What made last year so fun, in part, was all the moving pieces, the Keim chess game. We’re in for another off season of that starting with Larry already under our belts.

  8. By clssylssy on Feb 21, 2014 | Reply

    I recall very clearly how our defense was before DWashington returned from his suspension and afteR; it was like night and day. I recall also how various members of the defense as well as offense talked about what a great motivator Washington was for “raising the bar” for all players who had to play their best to “keep up: with the result beingn the Card’s successful season. I believe you even did an article to that effect. Sure would have liked to play the Saints after his return and later in the season as I know we could have taken them. Obviously, Washington’s “off field issues” will be used as leverage to get him into a cheaper contract and it always makes me uneasy when the front office gets into a game of chicken with our valued players because you know Washington, like Dansby, will be able to get his asking price elsewhere in a league who has now witnessed the role killer defenses play in winning championships. As far as Williams is concerned, I thought he was just beginning to show promise (as were others on the team) and his personal qualities make him a credit to the uniform and an asset in the locker room. It would be a shame to cut him loose with so much invested however, I also recognize that he has not played enough or been able to contribute enough to merit a bonus. If we look at merit and team contribution then talk of cutting Dockett or not paying Peterson should cease, they did their job and deserve to be paid. I do think that players are either in or out and this dance with the agents holding players out of practice and OTAs should not be acceptable. I’m not saying they should be dumped but there should be consequences and not getting played because of lack of preparation would seem appropriate. If players thought the number of snaps they got were in proportion to their preparation, players might be motivated to control their agents in light of the bigger picture!
    Obviously, the fans don’t have a clue about the Cardinal cap money and I wish they would leave managing of the cap to the guys who get paid to do the job. If they screw up and we don’t move forward in our division then the fans will have a legitimate complaint but until then let them do their job!

  9. By joe holst on Feb 21, 2014 | Reply

    Releasing Ryan Williams would not really save 1m as they would have to replace him. His salary is really affordable and I hope he gets on the field

  10. By Rich on Feb 21, 2014 | Reply

    Williams has got to be willing to do more than run with the ball. He has to run block and pass block and pay special teams. Arians isn’t going to allow a prima dona on the roster, no matter how nice he is. And the kid needs to hold up (healthy) during practices and pre-season and whatever.

  11. By Big Ken on Feb 21, 2014 | Reply

    @Patrick Hoog ‘the Keim chess game’ hits it right on the head. We have very sharp people running our team.

  12. By stevenanimator on Feb 21, 2014 | Reply

    I don’t see the Cardinals hanging on the Ryan Williams if they re-sign Mendenhall. Reliability with RB’s, is more important than fancy footwork, and Rashard was a reliable, downhill RB this past season. I’d put him before Ryan in the just about every situation.

  13. By Coach K on Feb 21, 2014 | Reply

    I think we keep both of them. If Williams has fully recovered, he has the talent to be special. Washington will be fine. I also wanted to comment on the quarterback situation and possibly drafting a young QB. This is not necessary as there is a very special player who may go undrafted. His name is Brock Jensen of N. Dakota St. 6-3, 225 lbs, athletic and with a good arm. The kid is a winner! Has a huge upside. No need to draft a QB, unless Bortles falls to pick #20. Here’s highlights on Brock.

  14. By John on Feb 21, 2014 | Reply

    I think the cap space came from projections of the league raising it by 7 million.
    Here’s a link to one of those sites. I don’t know how true it is but I’m guessing that’s where the $13 million figure comes from.

  15. By John The Draft Guy on Feb 21, 2014 | Reply

    Arians: “Tight ends for me block first, catch second.” #CardsCombine 56 minutes ago

    I think we can rule out the cards drafting Jace Amaro.

  16. By Seth on Feb 21, 2014 | Reply

    Do you people who write these chapter long posts realize that the longer your post is, the less likely it will be read? I’ve been reading this blog for years and I always skip the long entries. Keep it pithy.

  17. By D on Feb 21, 2014 | Reply

    Another free agent name to watch for is Chris Clemmons, Safety from the Dolphins…has ties with T. Bowles and is a good coverage safety, which after seeing all of the TE’s run free against the defense, Cards could upgrade the spot in March…

  18. By jasonc on Feb 21, 2014 | Reply


    Do you realize that you’re only one person and I could care less what posts you happen to read or not read?

  19. By ored on Feb 21, 2014 | Reply

    anything to help with opposing TEs’ is welcome,looks like a good group to choose from,both FA and the draft.

    it has to be hard to cut a high draft choice and admit we could have done better,we gave levi every opportunity,and i think the same is playing out for williams,he has the playmaking abilities,just needs to stay on the field and show them at gametime. it is strange that ellington,a 6th round pick and williams,a 2nd round pick did the opposite of what would be exciting would it be to see williams reach his potential also.

  20. By John The Draft Guy on Feb 21, 2014 | Reply

    Arians has said he is going to build his offense around Ellington. He has a pretty good back in Taylor who can be the “pounder”.

    I just can’t figure out why this Williams thing keeps coming up.

    For the fans who want Williams on the field, understand this, every carry he gets is one less carry Ellington and Taylor get.

    That is not something I want to see.

  21. By clssylssy on Feb 21, 2014 | Reply

    Agree Taylor is a “pretty good” back but doesn’t really have the size to be a pounder like Lynch…he’s more like Ray Rice and in the west, it would seem that size matters. Ellington isn’t an every down back and BA plans to use him on offense also, so it would seem that we need a third back. I totally don’t get the fixation with “one less carry” for Ellington and Taylor as that will be mute if Ellington is used as a receiver or some place else. The Cards have been very innovative in using players in multiple roles without regard for their personal stats. It is, afterall, a team sport and I’m up for creativity when it wins games. Seems like last season Arians wanted to build the offense around Patrick Peterson and used him on both sides of the ball, this year is Ellington, and perhaps this is the wave of the future. With the current Jimmy Graham dilemma the Saints are facing about what position to call him when contract negotiations are an issue (different positions having differing pay scales), it makes me wonder how the Cards are dealing with this Frankensteining of player positions? I know the CBA tried to address this but the Graham could reverberate into the desert as well…interesting to consider…

  22. By jasonc on Feb 21, 2014 | Reply


    I don’t see why anyone is one way or the other about it? Ryan Williams is in the last year of his rookie deal and we have no need/reason to cut him right now so why wouldn’t we go into camp with him? If he shows the fire and ability in camp and makes this team then why woulnd’t we support him? If he gets snaps it will be because he earned them. I think if he makes it to camp he’s going to have alot to prove and it will start with being available.

  23. By Dynosoar on Feb 21, 2014 | Reply

    Chapter 1…

    Sorry Seth, couldn’t resist.

    I know sometimes I write longer posts and sometimes shorter posts. Sometimes I read only the shorter, sometimes I only read the longer and mostly I read them all. Depends on the day I guess.

    Chapter 2…

    Mostly I enjoy reading others thoughts, comments, banter, etc. I appreciate the work Darren puts into the blog and the efforts ya’ll put into writing responses to his blogs.

    Chapter 3…

    I’m simply excited to see Arians and Keim at work, they bring an energy that makes me just want to see what is coming next. I know something else is coming and that I’ll be pleased. I’m really looking forward to this next season.


    Go Cardinals! Let’s have home field advantage in the next Super Bowl. I’m proud to be part of the Red Sea. Since ’77 till I die and beyond.

  24. By theuglitruth on Feb 21, 2014 | Reply

    If they re-sign Mendenhall I may have to throw a brick at someone!

  25. By Coach K on Feb 21, 2014 | Reply

    I have to agree with clssylssy, I like Taylor but he is not exactly an inside bruiser and he does not have great speed. He is perfect as a clock runner. Will give you the tough first downs and his body type is not ideal for more than 15 carries. I think Mendenhall is stronger and definitely faster. Mendy needs to not let the issues of the world he cannot change affect him mentally. Some things in life you just cannot control and there is no sense letting those things hold you back. Let it go and play football.

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