Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan said the Redskins were confident in their research into linebacker Junior Galette, who signed with the team Friday.*
When he was named the Washington Redskins' general manager in January, Scot McCloughan said character would be a major attribute he considered when deciding which players to sign to the roster.
On Thursday, the Redskins brought in Junior Galette, an extremely talented pass rusher whose past featured some red flags worthy of considerable research, for a visit to their training camp home in Richmond, Va.
So after spending time both speaking with Galette and those who know the sixth-year veteran, McCloughan, Redskins team President Bruce Allen and head coach Jay Gruden decided to give him a shot to prove himself both on and off the field with a reported one-year deal at the league minimum.
After passing a physical, Galette signed his Redskins contract on Friday, when he participated, albeit in a limited role, in his first practice with his new team.
"We did a lot, a lot of research on him, as we do with everybody," McCloughan told Redskins.com TV's Larry Michael. "But he's got a couple things still pending out there so we had to really look into it, and we did. … We all got together and asked, 'Honest opinion, what do you guys think?' and we all had a thumbs up."
Galette the past two seasons has established himself as one of the more productive and consistent pass rushers in the NFL. For his career, Galette – who went undrafted in 2010 out of Division II Stillman College and signed with the New Orleans Saints – has recorded 122 total tackles (87 solo), including 34 tackles for loss and 31.5 sacks, 22 of which coming since 2013.
Galette has also registered five forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Last season alone he was credited for causing two safeties.
"He's had 22 sacks the last two years, and I watched five games yesterday from last year and he could've easily had eight more sacks," McCloughan said. "The guy gets to the quarterback. The guy plays with a relentless motor and with anger."
The Washington Redskins today announced the signing of linebacker Junior Galette. Take a look back at the pass rusher's five-year NFL career.
But Galette – who was voted a team captain last season – eventually began to fall out of favor with the Saints, who released the linebacker on Monday. McCloughan said he was immediately triggered into research mode.
"From the get-go I was a little bit nervous about, "OK, geez, there's some things out there," McCloughan said. "… But after we looked into everything – even with the league office, talking to them and doing and all that – but like I said a couple of things are still pending but we felt fine with him as a person."
Galette is expected to immediately provide an impressive punch opposite of outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan, who is coming off a career-high 13.5 sacks and this week signed a long-term contract extension with the Redskins.
Also pushing for time at that outside linebacker position are second-year Stanford product Trent Murphy and 2015 second-round pick Preston Smith, each of whom had been splitting starting reps during offseason workouts and minicamp while Kerrigan recovered from minor knee surgery.
"As far as who's going to start, we'll let camp and preseason games determine that," Gruden said on Friday. "But I know that Junior has played very good football… He's got a lot of sacks in his career, a lot of pressure, a very disruptive defensive end, and can only help us in that regard. But he's still got to go out here and earn his right, earn his stripes."