There will come a time down the road when the NFL owners and players will square off for a collective bargaining session once again, just as they did during the lockout of 2011. Among the items that the players will attempt to get the owners to bend on, I would imagine, is the guaranteeing of player contracts IN FULL, not just the partial guarantees they enjoy now.
Ask any football player, current or former, and that's a huge point of collective bargaining pain with them — in the NFL, you can get cut (or asked to take a pay cut) at any time. The salary cap hit a team would take on the modest fraction of a contract that IS guaranteed is the only leverage a player has. Baseball and basketball players, NFL players will point out, are fully guaranteed their deals and those are much less dangerous sports than football.
The owners will counter with the risk they would be taking in fully guaranteeing monster deals in a physical sport like football. Also, you just don't know when a player is going to go unhinged off the field, and when the owners need Exhibit A in THAT part of their presentation, they should just just put a big picture of former Saints linebacker Junior Galette on the screen.
From about the time he signed his four year, $41 million ($23 million guaranteed) extension before the 2014 season, Galette has been a pain in the ass of the Saints and a pain in the ass of society. He's been arrested for assault (January 2015), he's fought with teammates in the locker room, and he's had shocking video surface that shows him hitting a woman in the face with a belt back in 2013. In a revealing Times-Picayune story, teammates said that the changes in Galette were noticeable from the minute he got his new deal:
Galette was voted a captain by teammates at the beginning of last season. According to a source, Saints coaches were unsure about how such a move would go, but preferred not to step into the players’ affairs.
Saints coaches and players quickly found out that Galette didn’t exactly embrace his new role the way some older veterans thought he should.
“He thought being captain was more so about status on the team instead of being a leader on and off the field,” one source said.
According to sources, Galette’s attitude changed after he received the new contract in September.
A former Saints teammate told NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune of Galette: “He stayed focused long enough to get paid, then the real Junior came out. Sad.”
The Saints finally had enough over the weekend, and cut Galette, despite having to take a nearly $18 million cap hit to do so. Not to get too deep into the mechanics of the salary cap, but you have to be a major asshole for a team to cut you for off the field reasons and take an $18 million cap hit to do it.
Well, Galette did not go quietly into the night. After deleting his own Twitter account, he reportedly took to his girlfriend's Twitter account to air every single parcel of Saints' dirty laundry that he possibly could. The girlfriend's account has now been deleted as well, but not before pretty much every outlet in sports journalism who cared could screen cap the tweets and post pictures of them. (A nice concise gallery always helps.)
Thankfully, if you want the concise summary (the "previously on 'Junior Galette Goes Ape Shit'" version of what he tweeted), a user on Reddit named PaySayJack has put one together. (Can always count a guy named "PaySayJack"!):
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So there you go — Junior Galette, a guy who will "out" you in a second (and maybe not even truthfully) if you've had a spouse cheat on you, might be gay, or had addiction issues while in a position of leadership. In an NFL culture that values loyalty to team with a code of privacy that has an almost "Omertà" type stringency, it will be interesting to see if Junior Galette takes longer to find work than noted domestic abusers like Greg Hardy, who the Cowboys signed to a $13 million deal even after reports he body slammed his girlfriend onto a bed covered with guns.
The NFL is a strange place, man.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast.