1. This is a big blow. Make no mistake about it. The Saints are going to feel the loss of Galette on the field. He was the best pass rusher on the team and now New Orleans is going to have to fill the void one way or another. That’s not an easy loss to overcome.
It seemed likely New Orleans was going to use Galette as a pass-rush specialist an minimize his exposure to running plays, but someone is going to step up and fill that void. The most likely candidates are second-round pick Hau’oli Kikaha, who was one of the most productive pass rushers in college football last season, and veteran Anthony Spencer.
The problem is that neither is a sure thing. Kikaha is an unproven rookie, and Spencer is coming off a knee injury that sidelined him in 2013 and rendered him ineffective for most of the 2014 season. It’s not out of the question that one or both develop into impact players. It’s also not out of the question that one or both fail to fill Galette’s void.
2. The Saints made a mistake here. Yes, the bigger mistake would have been sticking with Galette once it was determined he needed to be removed from the picture. But all of that grew from the initial mistake, which was signing Galette to a four-year, $41.5 million extension last season.
Did Galette con everyone into thinking he was a good guy? It would be hypocritical for the media to throw shade at the organization considering he was voted the team’s “Good Guy” two seasons ago, which is ironic considering he responded to an interview request from The Advocate with a vulgar voice memo. But the organization probably should have been more aware of what was going on with him away from the facility.
It’s hard to place too much blame on the team if Galette totally went off the skids after getting his big deal, but you can’t completely exonerate the front office when the Saints will taking a $12.1 million salary cap hit on Galette in 2016.
3. Remember all the good feelings when New Orleans locked up Galette and tight end Jimmy Graham, who were perceived to be core pieces of its future, last year? Along with Galette, Graham signed a four-year deal worth $40 million.
Both players are now gone, and it’s stunning to think about how quickly things changed.
Both players needed to go for various reasons. The problem is the Saints can’t simply walk away from the wreckage and wipe the slate clean. There’s a tax to be paid.
Counting the $5.45 million that remains on the books for Galette this season, New Orleans is now carrying $27,121,303 in dead salary. That hit is bigger than the $26.4 million cap charge Drew Brees carries this season.
The good news is that the books clear a bit in 2016, but a $12 million hit will remain for Galette.
4. The impact on the field isn’t limited to the outside of the line. One possibility for the Saints next season would have been to line up Galette on one edge and Spencer or Kikaha on the other, with Cam Jordan kicking inside in pass-rushing situations.
That isn’t completely off the table, but the Saints will need both Kikaha and Spencer to deliver next season to make this a reality.
Options could be limited. Even if Spencer and Kikaha step up, that just means there could have been a third player wreaking havoc alongside them.
It’s time for the next man to step up. But the last man will cast a shadow.