The Washington Redskins originally brought in pass rusher Junior Galette to spice up their pass rush. After losing Brian Orakpo in free agency and badly needing impact players on a defense that struggled a year ago, Galette was a much-needed addition. Even with some serious off field baggage, the former Saints linebacker was looked at as a huge get.
Until now. Per reports, Junior Galette is now out for the entire 2015 NFL season after suffering a torn Achilles after hurting his ankle during practice. Washington initially feared his Achilles may have been damaged, and the team had their fears realized late on Wednesday afternoon.
Source close to Galette says Achilles’ tendon is indeed torn.
— Mike Jones (@MikeJonesWaPo) August 26, 2015
Galette was initially going to be a massive spark for Washington’s new-look defense, which included a new defensive coordinator and a more aggressive style. The Redskins had even addressed their defensive line and brought in help in the secondary. On top of paying to bring in Galette, they also handed fellow rush linebacker Ryan Kerrigan a massive contract extension. Most of Washington’s other moves on the defensive side of the ball could still pan out, but the addition of Galette will not.
On the surface, Galette was a high reward, low risk signing, as he signed on for the veteran’s minimum. Coming off of two successful seasons where he contributed over 22 sacks to New Orleans’ defensive efforts, the 27-year old Galette appeared ready to provide a solid impact for the Redskins where they needed it most. The team was still waiting to hear back from the league in regards to Galette’s pending suspension, but there was hope he would only miss a handful of games for previous off field issues.
While a tough blow, it’s hard to lose what you never really had. The Redskins may not have had Galette for much more than half of the year potentially, while the team does have some solid depth at the position with Trent Murphy and Preston Smith now likely competing for a starting gig. Jackson Jeffcoat is third in line at the moment, but was an extremely productive pass rusher in college and could warrant consideration. The Redskins could also be players in what is left over on the open market, as well.
The Redskins weren’t expected to contest for the NFC East in 2015, much less make a serious playoff run. The loss of Galette certainly doesn’t help their chances, however, so betting on them to do much this season is probably ill advised.