NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reports that the Saints will release Junior Galette, according to a source informed of the situation Friday. Galette recorded 22 sacks over the last two seasons, and was handed a four-year extension worth $41.3 million in September of last year. He received $17.95 million in the last year alone.
Galette recently met with NFL officials, according to Rapoport. The league is looking into two off-the-field incidents by Galette and the Saints have grown increasingly frustrated with him. Galette was arrested on domestic violence and simple battery charges in January; the charges were eventually dropped. Galette was also dealing with a torn pectoral muscle this offseason. Doctors were split regarding whether Galette required surgery.
In a conversation with Evan Woodbery of The Times-Picayune, Galette called the move "the worst call they've ever made. It was a terrible call to kick me when I'm down.
"Everything is Sean's call. He told me that himself. He's the one who pulls the trigger. ... The business is the business, you know? ... Like Vito Corleone said, 'Watch for the traitors.'"
This will prove to be another costly contractual mistake by general manager Mickey Loomis. The Saints literally couldn't cut Galette before June 1 because of salary cap implications. Now he will cost $5.25 million on this year's cap, and the team will push $12.1 million in "dead money" into the future. That's how NFL teams get into salary cap trouble, and stay there.
Galette was a hybrid outside linebacker and defensive end that was an excellent speed pass-rusher on a team devoid of players that can win one-on-one matchups. Cameron Jordan is a fine defensive end, but is not a pure edge rusher. Anthony Spencer was playing ahead of Galette in offseason practices. Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan will have to create a pass rush with blitzing.
Early last season, Galette insisted to the media that the 2014 crop of Saints defenders were more talented than the group that won the Super Bowl after the 2009 season. Now Galette will be remembered as the face of an underachieving, inconsistent defense that has helped to squander some of Drew Brees' prime.
He will also be remembered as a big contract mistake by Loomis. Both Galette and Jimmy Graham signed monster extensions last year. Both are no longer with a team that is clearly in transition.