MONDAY, 3:52pm: After passing a physical earlier today, Galette has officially been released by the Saints, who also signed tight end Kevin Brock and guard Cole Manhart, waiving center Mike Brewster with an injury designation (Twitter link via Evan Woodbery of the New Orleans Times-Picayune).
According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, the team waited as long as possible to cut Galette in the hopes that the NFL would take action that would allow the Saints to potentially recoup some of the signing bonus money they owed him.
FRIDAY, 1:50pm: Galette must take – and pass – a physical with the Saints before he’s officially released, tweets Adam Schefter of ESPN.com, adding that the physical will likely happen this weekend.
1:24pm: In a surprising roster move, the Saints are releasing pass rusher Junior Galette before their training camp gets underway, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter).
While Galette has provided plenty of value to the Saints on the field over the last two years, recording back-to-back seasons of double-digit sacks, his off-field behavior cost him his job. The former undrafted free agent was arrested on a domestic charge in January, and a report last month indicated that a video has surfaced of a man who appeared to be Galette using force against a woman in a beach brawl.
With Galette making the wrong sort of headlines, and New Orleans’ roster undergoing a significant offseason overhaul, it came as no surprise when winter reports suggested head coach Sean Payton and the Saints wouldn’t have been opposed to moving on from the pass rusher if they could find a taker. However, given the off-field red flags, and the significant chunk of guaranteed money still owed to him, it was equally unsurprising that the Saints were ultimately forced to bite the bullet and simply cut him.
Galette, who turned 27 in March, just signed a lucrative four-year extension with the Saints last September, and has already received more than $17MM in salary and bonus money from the team since then. Having converted Galette’s $12.5MM roster bonus to a signing bonus earlier this year, New Orleans will now have to eat a tremendous amount of dead money to make the 27-year-old go away.
Based on contract information provided by Over the Cap, Galette’s $5.45MM cap hit for 2015 figures to remain unchanged, with the remainder of his prorated bonus money accelerating to the 2016 league year — based on my math, Galette will count for $12.1MM against New Orleans’ ’16 cap.
While Galette will hit the free agent market, that won’t stop the NFL from looking into his off-field behavior and potentially handing out a suspension, which will adversely affect his chances of landing with a new team. Depending on the language of Galette’s contract, I’d also expect the Saints to make an effort to get back some of the bonus money they’ve paid him over the last 12 months.
Galette’s odds of signing with a new team figure to be negatively impacted by his health as well — he’s said to be recovering from a pectoral injury, and won’t go under the knife to repair the damage.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.