RICHMOND—The Redskins locked up one pass rusher on Wednesday. Now they have their eyes on another one.
Yesterday, Ryan Kerrigan signed a long-term contract extension to stay with the Redskins. Today the team is going to take an up-close look at former Saints linebacker Junior Galette. He became the starter in New Orleans in 2013 and in the past two years the 27 year old has 22 sacks, only one fewer than Kerrigan has in the same period of time.
Albert Breer of NFL.com reported last night that Galette will be at the Redskins’ training facility today to take a physical and talk to team officials.
Good 27-year-old pass rushers don’t hit the streets very often and there are multiple red flags regarding Galette. The Saints, who brought him in as an undrafted free agent in 2010 and slowly developed him into a star performer, took a major financial hit to release him last week. They will take a dead cap hit of $5.45 million this year and another hit of $12.1 million in 2016.
The issues with Galette that led to his expensive release were both on and off the field. In January he was arrested on a domestic violence charge. Last month a 2013 video that seemed to show Galette hitting a woman with a belt emerged. The NFL is still investigating both incidents.
Galette has a lot hanging on the investigation. Even a first-time domestic violence offender gets a six-game suspension under the NFL’s new, tougher standards.
There also were reports that Galette was getting to be a locker room distraction. His brash personality rubbed some the wrong way. There was a report that he got into a fight with a teammate and that he became lazy after signing that contract extension last year.
The Redskins and new general manager Scot McCloughan generally have played it safe this offseason when it comes to acquiring players with character issues. If they do end up signing Galette it would clearly be a risk and a departure from the precedent established this year.
Where would he play? He certainly would not supplant Kerrigan at left outside linebacker. The team has spent is second-round draft picks each of the past two years on Trent Murphy and Preston Smith to man the right side. They say that you can’t have too many good pass rushers and sorting out snaps for a talented group is a problem that few Redskins defensive coordinators have had and that Joe Barry would be happy to tackle.
It should be noted that while coming to town for a physical and meetings indicates more than casual interest in signing a contract, it doesn’t mean that a deal will get done. Galette may want to visit more teams to try to develop a market for his services. The Redskins might not like what they hear when they talk to Galette. And, of course, money can always become an issue.
It will be interesting to see how this one develops. Stay tuned.