RICHMOND—Usually when I’m asked what I think of a player the Redskins have signed or are considering bringing on board, I say that I need to see the contract before forming an opinion. In the salary capped NFL what might be a good signing can be ruined by a bad contract. And a signing that might seem shaky on the surface can be saved if the contract is favorable to the team.
The Redskins signing of Junior Galette falls into the latter category. He has pending domestic violence issues and reported problems with teammates in New Orleans. The Saints were willing to take a cap hit in the neighborhood of $15 million to get rid of him.
But that’s the “troubled” part of the “talented but troubled” phrase that has preceded his name lately. The good part is his story of working his way from being an undrafted free agent in 2010 to becoming a starter for the Saints in 2013 and posting 22 sacks in the last two years. That’s just one fewer than Ryan Kerrigan has in that time frame. Like Kerrigan, Galette is 27 and should just be entering his prime.
The contract made signing Galette almost a no-brainer for the Redskins. The deal is for one year at the league minimum of $745,000 and the team has the option to match any contract offer the player might get in 2016. Getting a player with Galette’s ability with very little risk is a proposition that has very little downside.
There is some downside in the deal for some of the players who currently play outside linebacker for Washington. Certainly Kerrigan won’t lose any snaps to Galette. But the team invested its second-round draft picks at outside linebacker each of the last two years, taking Trent Murphy in 2014 and Preston Smith this year. They were competing for the starting right outside linebacker spot opposite Kerrigan. Bsut regardless of who might end up starting they both were going to play a considerable number of snaps. That could change with Galette in the picture.
But Smith and Murphy are still going to make the team. Before today it looked like one reserve outside linebacker between Trevardo Williams and Jackson Jeffcoat was going to make the team and the other would be cut. Now both could end up on the outside looking in.
It will be up to new defensive coordinator Joe Barry to sort out the linebackers’ roles. That’s a good problem to have.