Redskins, free agent Junior Galette still have gap to close in contract negotiations

The Washington Redskins and Junior Galette both want the same thing, but they still have a fair amount of negotiating to do.

Asked on Twitter about his chances of returning to the Redskins, free agent linebacker Junior Galette’s response highlighted that the key to signing him lies, not surprisingly, in the amount of money he is offered. Galette stated that the Redskins have ample cap room, which is especially true after Monday's round of cuts that included Robert Griffin III, Jason HatcherDashon Goldson and Jeron Johnson.

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Redskins coach Jay Gruden showed no reservation at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis when he made his interest in retaining Galette known. And the 27-year-old, for his part, stated in January that he wants to return. After all, he didn’t get the Redskins’ logo tattooed on his bicep for nothing.

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Negotiations between the two parties were complicated recently by Galette’s firing of his former agent Peter Schaffer, who also happened to represent Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan. Galette replaced Schaffer by hiring Drew Rosenhaus as his agent, hoping that Rosenhaus could secure the type of deal Galette is looking for: a one-year prove-it deal to land a heftier long-term contract next offseason.

Washington, meanwhile, started negotiations off with a significantly different proposal than what Galette had in mind. The Redskins reportedly hoped to sign Galette to a multi-year deal at a bargain rate after he sat out last season, his first in Washington, with a torn Achilles tendon.

This is not to say that optimism fhas plumetted in negotiations with Galette. It still appears that both parties ultimately want the same thing: Galette wearing burgundy and gold for at least another season. Still, the specifics need to be ironed out in a way that is suitable to both Galette and the team, and Galette clearly has a strong opinion on what he is worth. Though he refrained from giving the specific salary that he wants, Galette did share what an insulting offer would look like to him.

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The Redskins aren’t the only club interested in Galette. The Buffalo Bills are perhaps his most serious other suitor, and his ties to the Bills coaching staff make a Galette-to-Buffalo scenario plausible. Galette spent two years under then Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, who was recently hired as the defensive coordinator by his brother and Bills head coach Rex Ryan. Galette let his feelings about his former defensive coordinator be known in another Tuesday morning tweet.

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You can’t fault Galette for aiming for the best contract he can get. After all, it is his career we are talking about. Though he has some leverage, namely in interest from other teams, it’s important that he doesn’t overplay his hand during negotiations. He came to Washington with some red flags in regard to his personality, and he has yet to prove his worth on the field due to last season’s Achilles injury. At the end of the day, both parties will likely have to make some concessions, but there’s no reason to panic yet. The Redskins retain the right of first refusal to match competing offers for Galette.

Dan Roth is a freelance sportswriter and Breaking Burgundy contributor. Follow Dan on Twitter @danrothdc.

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