New Orleans Saints: The Significance of Junior Galette's New 3-Year Contract

Tyler RabornContributor IIIMarch 9, 2013

Jan 7, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints defensive end Junior Galette (93) reacts against the Detroit Lions during the 2011 NFC Wild Card Playoff game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The Saints defeated the Lions 45-28. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Restricted free agent Junior Galette has signed a three-year contract with the New Orleans Saints.

As Nakia Hogan pointed out in his Times-Picayune article, the Saints have been determined to sign Galette.

The deal between the Saints and Galette didn't come as much of a surprise. Earlier this offseason, Galette said it was simply a matter of when not if a deal would be reached.

With just three years of experience, Galette was a restricted free agent, meaning the Saints would have had the right to match any offer Galette received on the open market as long as the Saints tendered him a one-year offer. 

The Saints apparently were prepared to make Galette a second-round tender offer of $2.023 million before the three-year deal was announced. 

This determination is well-founded. Junior Galette, who turns 25 at the end of this month, has played three seasons with the New Orleans Saints since being signed as an undrafted free agent in 2010. During that time, he has amassed 9.5 sacks in 32 games.

Yet Galette's numbers are not a true representation of his blossoming talent. In 12 games last season, he managed to record five sacks while playing for the worst defense in NFL history. 

Often in the NFL, dominant pass-rushers are the product of defensive schemes or other dominant pass-rushers. When teams are forced to double-team dangerous pass-rushers, they leave other linemen or linebackers one-on-one with offensive linemen. Consequently, if a team has two dominant pass-rushers, one is bound to beat their man and get to the quarterback more often.

The Saints, who ranked 25th in the league in sacks, significantly struggled to get pressure on the quarterback last year. Thus, Junior Galette did not have the luxury of a dominant pass rush freeing him up. His numbers were a product of his own ability. 

With the hiring of Rob Ryan, the Saints are sure to implement a more aggressive defensive scheme. Ryan has a reputation for using multiple looks on defense that confuse pass blockers and quarterbacks. 

This new scheme should allow Junior Galette to flourish. As Doug Farrar alluded to in his Yahoo Sports article, Galette is poised for a strong campaign in 2013.

Gallete, however, was a standout when healthy. In just 12 games, he amassed a career-high five quarterback sacks, and ranked fourth overall in Pro Football Focus' Pass-Rushing Productivity statistic among 4-3 defensive ends. He put up 30 total pressures on just 187 pass-rush snaps, and can be expected to grab a more prominent role in Ryan's more aggressive and multi-front defense. This despite missing four games late in the season with a sprained ankle. 

If Galette lives up to expectations, his market value will greatly increase next year. This potential increase in value is why Galette's new contract is so significant. If the Saints had been forced to tender him a one-year offer, Junior Galette would have had the opportunity to greatly increase his bargaining power in negations for a long-term deal with a productive season in 2013. 

Fortunately, the Saints have managed to lock Galette down for another three years.