The New Orleans Saints are releasing outside linebacker Junior Galette less than a week before training camp, the Advocate has confirmed.
WWL-TV reported the news first.
Galette, who has 31.5 career sacks in five seasons in New Orleans and 22 over the past two years, has been plagued by off-the-field incidents this offseason.
Back on Jan. 5, Galette was arrested and charged with one count of misdemeanor simple battery related to domestic violence after an altercation with a woman at his home.
Kenner officials ultimately dropped the charge in February, citing the fact that Kenner law requires two people to co-habitate to pursue a domestic violence charge. A civil suit remains in limbo after the woman’s initial attorney dropped the case.
Then, shortly after the Saints finished their mandatory minicamp, the team submitted a video to the NFL of a 2013 Miami Beach altercation that shows a man wearing a white shirt, white shorts, white shoes and sunglasses can be seen in the video striking two people, including a woman, multiple times with a belt, then returning to the fight later and throwing several more punches.
A photo was later provided to The Advocate fromon Galette’s deleted Instagram that showed Galette and four friends on a beach wearing similar clothing to the men in the video.
The photo was dated March 24, 2013, one day before the video the Saints sent to the NFL office was uploaded to YouTube.
At the time, Galette’s lawyer, Ralph Whalen, said it could not be determined whether or not the man in the video was Galette.
“I’ve seen it a bunch of times,” Whalen said. “It certainly doesn’t convince me that it’s Junior. I don’t know what basis anyone can look at the video and say that it’s Junior.”
Galette’s off-the-field actions forced the Saints to make a difficult financial decision. Galette, who signed a four-year, $41.5 million deal last season, carries a cap hit of $12.1 million in dead money, most of which will count against the cap next season.
The decision to release Galette results in a $5.35 million cap hit in 2015, saving $100,000 in terms of the Saints’ cap this season.
Now, New Orleans finds itself searching for pass rush. The Saints added second-round pick Hau’oli Kikaha and fifth-round pick Davis Tull in the draft for that purpose, and veteran outside linebacker Anthony Spencer is another pass rusher who can handle the edge.