After practice Wednesday, Saints linebacker Junior Galette announced he signed a four-year extension with the team worth up to $41.5 million.
“This is the best day of my life,” said Galette, who was voted a defensive captain this week. “This is the best week of my life.”
He will reportedly receive $23 million guaranteed.
Four years after making the Saints as an undrafted rookie out of tiny Stillman College, Galette erupted in 2013. He recorded the sixth-most sacks in the NFL (12) during the regular season — or 2.5 more than he had in his first three seasons combined. He broke up the first two passes and recovered the first two fumbles of his career, and he amassed 42 of his 79 combined tackles in the NFL on a defense that surrendered the league’s fourth-fewest yards.
Galette’s sacks were second only to Saints Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Jordan’s 12.5, which were the fifth most in the league. Galette’s extension means he and Jordan will both be under contract for at least the next two seasons. Jordan is set to become a free agent after 2015, and there was language in a separate extension Galette signed with the Saints in March 2013 that would’ve permitted him to void his contract in 2015 if he fulfilled a number of performance goals.
Injuries factored into that. The 6-foot-2, 258-pound Galette’s emergence followed year-ending knee ligament tears to outside linebackers Will Smith and Victor Butler in the preseason. That meant he logged 848 regular-season snaps after beginning the year with just 698 in his career.
In discussing his new deal, Galette referred to his upbringing in the “slums” of his hometown Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. He said his son would be set for life; that he loved New Orleans, and the city returned the sentiment; and that he was happy enough with what the team offered him to sign an extension immediately rather than hold out, try to outperform his 2013 campaign, and demand more money if he succeeded.
“How much is enough?” Galette said. “If you’re not happy with what they gave me, you’ll never be content.”
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