RICHMOND – Scot McCloughan has preached the importance of building a team the right way, which means taking the patient approach and primarily using draft picks as the cornerstone of a franchise.
However, there are exceptions, McCloughan has said, and one of those instances could be bolstering the pass-rushing unit by signing free agent outside linebacker Junior Galette.
The former New Orleans Saints captain – who because of locker room friction and off-field issues fell out of favor with his bosses and teammates since signing a $41 million extension last September and was released on Monday – arrived in Richmond and will spend Thursday meeting with McCloughan, team president Bruce Allen and other members of the organization. He will also take a physical.
Although the Tampa Bay Buccaneers also have interest in Galette, a person familiar with the sixth-year pro’s thinking says that the Redskins are the leaders to sign him.
Is this a good move, though?
From a football standpoint, absolutely. Yes, it’s a deviation from the build-through-the-draft approach. But the chance to add a pass rusher of Galette’s caliber (12 sacks in 2013, his first as a starter, and 10 last season) doesn’t come around often.
The Redskins have Trent Murphy and Preston Smith in the mix, but you can never have too many pass rushers. And neither has reached Galette’s level yet. Smith could benefit from a limited workload and the chance to learn from two veterans with Ryan Kerrigan and Galette’s skill sets. Murphy, while solid against the run, still has a ways to go as a pass rusher.
A tandem of Kerrigan and Galette would cause problems for quarterbacks and in turn help the secondary. As you know, for years, the defensive backs have struggled in part because of a lack of consistent pressure up front.
The financial situation also appears favorable for Washington. With the Saints still on the hook for the guaranteed portion of Galette’s contract, the Redskins will not have to cough up a lot of money to sign him.
And a short-term deal also would prove beneficial because it gives Galette incentive.
Now, the whole off-field aspect does raise some concern.
Galette was arrested in January for allegedly injuring a woman while trying to force her to leave his home. Those charges later were dismissed. And the 2013 video that surfaced this past June and depicts a group brawl in which a man that appears to be Galette beats a woman with a belt is chilling. However, his attorney insists that was not him.
The league still is investigating Galette’s off-field matters, so it’s unclear if he will face suspension of any kind.
The locker-room issues are perplexing. Two years ago, he was the “Media Good Guy” award winner. That means he was an upstanding guy that reporters respected, and he also had no issues with teammates. But last year, teammates ripped him for poor leadership, and for alienating them because of his brash style.
The Saints decided the off-field stuff outweighed the on-field positives.
McCloughan has said it’s important to stick to signing high-character players, who will not bring any embarrassment to the franchise. If Galette truly is a bad guy, then the Redskins need to stay away.
However, ever since he became available, McCloughan and Allen began digging into Galette’s past, talking to people familiar with the player, trying to gain a better understanding of who he is, sources said. One such person he likely talked to was DeAngelo Hall, who shares an agent with Galette.
Galette would not be asked to serve as a team captain here as he was in New Orleans. It’s believed that people like Hall, Dashon Goldson, Trent Williams, Ryan Kerrigan and others will serve as the strong leadership core that the team needs, and that they could serve as positive influences for Galette.
A short-term deal would benefit Washington financially, but also would probably ensure that Galette remains on his best behavior.
If that’s the case, then the roll of the dice could pay off.
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