Cards need long-term help at ILB

It’s always better to find out about a season-long suspension or a season-ending injury before a team gets into the heart of training camp and especially before Week 1 kicks off.

But just because Arizona linebacker Daryl Washington’s suspension was handed down in May, it doesn’t mean the Cardinals are in good shape. The timing allowed the team to find veteran help at inside linebacker before those free agents were signed late in training camp with Larry Foote and Ernie Sims.

When it comes to the long-term situation at inside backer, however, the Cardinals still need help.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, Arizona has 12 linebackers currently on the roster, excluding Washington. Of those, five are unrestricted free agents at the end of the season, including Foote and Sims. Only two true inside linebackers -- Kevin Minter and Kenny Demens -- are under contract in 2015. Lorenzo Alexander, who coach Bruce Arians has said could play inside, is also under contract after this season. It’s unlikely at least three or four of the linebackers on the roster now will be there on Week 1 because teams have to cut from 90 to 53.

The Cardinals will take a long look at cut-down lists, combing through them to see if the answer at inside linebacker can be found there. How does the saying go? One man’s trash is another man’s treasure? That might be the case this season. The Cardinals need to find help for 2015 and beyond, especially if they cut Washington.

Unrestricted free agents after 2014

Sam Acho

Larry Foote

Marcus Benard

Ernie Sims

Keenan Clayton

Under contract in 2015

Matt Shaughnessy

Lorenzo Alexander

Kevin Minter

Kenny Demens

Jonathan Brown

Glenn Carson

JoJo Dickson