TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — The Arizona Cardinals and inside linebacker Daryl Washington have agreed on a six-year contract.
The Cardinals had targeted the third-year pro throughout training camp as the next player to get a new deal. A second-round draft pick — 47th overall — out of TCU in 2010, Washington led the team in tackles last season with 111.
"I feel really good, really good," he said after practice on Thursday. "I'm glad it was able to get done before the season, sooner than later. I feel real good about the decision, about my agent Jordan Woy and the organization. I told them I wanted to be here for a long time and I'm glad it got done."
Terms weren't disclosed but the deal contains guaranteed money, a pay raise over the next two seasons with a team option bonus in 2014.
Washington, known for his extreme speed at a critical position in Arizona's 3-4 scheme, had 16 tackles for loss last season, the most by an Arizona player since 1995. He was one of five players in the NFL in 2011 with at least five sacks and two interceptions.
He had two years left on the contract he signed as a rookie.
"It just shows they believe in me, they believe in my talent," Washington said. "It shows the kind of person I am, the kind of character that I have. I'm just excited right now, very excited."
He joins defensive end Calais Campbell as players who signed long-term deals with Arizona in recent months.
"It just shows that they've got two potential great players for a long period of time," Washington said. "We're looking to really take over the defense and really show the organization that we're worth the pay."
He said the contract does not create more pressure for him to prove he's worth it.
"It's more of a challenge," Washington said, "to go out there and play as well as they expect me to play. But I expect that of myself."
Coach Ken Whisenhunt said "it's great when you have a young player that has made the strides that Daryl has."
"We thought highly of him before we drafted him and he certainly hasn't let us down," Whisenhunt said, "so to know that he's going to be here for a number of years was a great thing."
Washington has plenty of room for improvement.