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49ers opponents: Arizona Cardinals LB Daryl Washington suspended for season

The Arizona Cardinals could be without one of their top players, as linebacker Daryl Washington is potentially facing a season-long suspension.

Ezra Shaw

Fooch's Update: The Cardinals and the NFL have confirmed the suspension.

Two weeks ago, Wes Hanson put together a rundown of the Arizona Cardinals 2014 offseason. This series of articles covers free agent, trade and draft additions. While it provides up to date information when it is published, big news can obviously change the impressions we have about a given team. And that has apparently happened with the Cardinals.

FOX Sports Mike Jurecki is reporting that Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington is expected to miss the entire 2014 season due to a suspension. It is still up in the air as to what that suspension entails, but it could be related to either the personal conduct policy or the substance abuse policy. Washington sat for a 4-game suspension last year due to a violation of the substance abuse policy. A new violation would likely lead to a year long suspension. He also was facing a potential personal conduct policy suspension, but a season-long suspension under that policy seemed unlikely.

Whatever the reason, this is a big loss for a Cardinals defense that was looking like it could be particularly strong this year. They still have a lot of weapons on defense, but losing Washington stings. He has been a big part of that defense. He had an up and down year in 2013 following his suspension, but PFF rated him the No. 3 ILB in 2012, and the No. 10 ILB in 2011.

The Cardinals have reportedly brought in Ernie Sims for a visit, and it seems like that is probably due to this suspension. Sims has been more of an outside guy, but got some inside work this past year with the Dallas Cowboys.

The 49ers face the Cardinals Week 3 in Glendale, and then at home Week 17. Coming off a 10-win season, it's going to be interesting to see if they can build on last year's performance. The NFC West is brutal. The 49ers and Seahawks remain favorites, and the Rams have added some serious talent this offseason. The Rams and Cardinals both have some question marks, but either could take a step forward this season. I don't know if Sam Bradford is enough for the Rams to do that, but they've certainly surrounded him with that much more talent.