The Saints’ eye-opening move to release pass rusher Junior Galette earlier today has drawn plenty of response, including from Gallette himself. Galette fired back at the team in the wake of its decision – which he called “terrible,” per Evan Woodbery of NOLA.com.
“Who else do they have?” he asked Woodbery, implying that the Saints don’t have anyone to replace the 22 sacks he provided the previous two seasons.
Per Woodbery, the Saints will try to fill Galette’s void with a slew of candidates – namely Anthony Spencer, second-round rookie Hau’oli Kikaha, fifth-rounder Davis Tull, Kasim Edebali and Ronald Powell. Whether any can adequately take over for Galette remains to be seen, but it doesn’t seem to matter to the Saints – who, despite his production and the four-year, $41.5MM contract they signed him to last September, were done with Galette months prior to today, according to Larry Holder of NOLA.com.
The Saints tried in vain throughout the offseason to trade Galette, who Holder reports was in a locker room fight with teammate Brandon Deaderick last year, and then video of him striking a woman with a belt in March 2013 came to the forefront in June. That was Galette’s second known domestic violence-related incident. The other came this past January, when he was booked on one count of misdemeanor simple battery (a domestic violence charge was subsequently dropped). A suspension may not be forthcoming, however, as Galette stated he met with league officials and said he was “in the clear” with respect to potential discipline, Lyons Yellin of WWL-TV tweeted. Holder wrote that the league’s investigation into both matters is “ongoing.” Galette expects to play somewhere, clearly, and said that he’ll be the top outside linebacker in the league in 2015, per Yellin (Twitter link).
Regarding which member of Saints brass was most influential in releasing him, Galette said, “Everything is Sean’s call,” referring to head coach Sean Payton. “He told me that himself. He’s the one who pulls the trigger,” Woodbery tweeted.
Payton axed Galette after the defender refused to go on season-ending injured reserve with a pectoral injury that he suffered last month, according to Yellin (Twitter link).
“I’m not hurt,” Galette told Payton. “Either play me or cut me.”
Payton’s move to get rid of Galette will have significant financial ramifications for New Orleans, as Jason Fitzgerald of Over The Cap detailed. In addition to having already paid Galette $17MM, the Saints won’t save any cap space this year and will be on the hook for a $5.45MM cap hit. It gets even worse in 2016, when the team will eat $12.1MM in dead cap space.
In his last parting shot (for now), Galette said on Snapchat, “They say don’t let business get personal. [Expletive] it,” Nick Underhill of the New Orleans Advocate tweeted.
His release will become official once he takes – and passes – a physical with the Saints, which is expected to happen this weekend.