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Daryl Washington might end up with lesser suspension

The Adrian Peterson case could have the linebacker back more quickly than originally expected.

John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Cardinals continue to be in a waiting game with the situation of linebacker Daryl Washington. He is currently under suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy, which will be at least a year. He is eligible to begin the reinstatement process at the end of March and can be reinstated as early as May 30.

However, his guilty plea to aggravated assault still has yet to be dealt with. It likely means the league would suspend him again, but under the personal conduct policy.

However, the expected six games it was believed to be (based on new conduct guidelines) might be less. A judge ruled the league could not apply the new policy retroactively. That means the automatic six games the suspension would have been cannot be applied.

So where does that leave Washington?

Well, the truth is it doesn't really matter until he is reinstated. There is no guarantee he gets immediately reinstated at the end of May. He has to have shown he has avoided any more substance abuse problems.

But even under the previous policies, Washington could have been looking at a six-game suspension. Other felony pleas have gotten six-game suspensions in the past.

The league will look at the case at face value. It was a guilty plea to a felony. They will see the police report, which is damning.

So how long will Washington be out again? No one really knows. All we know is the league can't apply a standard automatic suspension...and it doesn't even matter until he is reinstated.