Feb 1, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Seattle Seahawks outside linebacker Bruce Irvin (51) celebrates during the fourth quarter against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
After the ugly regression the New Orleans Saints defense suffered through in 2014, the last thing they could afford was to lose one of their most reliable players. Barely into the off-season practices, that seems to have come to pass.
While the defensive unit as a whole struggled, outside linebacker Junior Galette had perhaps his best season as a pro last year. He collected career highs in tackles (45), forced fumbled (3) and safeties (2) and posted 10 sacks. That marks the second-straight season he has hit double digits. To lose him to a pectoral injury, something that, if requiring surgery would take months to heal could really throw a wrench into the Saints’ plans.
Him being out of the lineup puts increased pressure on veteran Anthony Spencer who was recently signed in free agency from Dallas. He’s 31-years old and has just half a sack over the past two seasons. After that the only true pass rusher of note at outside linebacker is 2nd round pick Hau’oli Kikaha.
There is a chance they could ride it out with what they have, but in a year where the team knows their window of opportunity is closing, finding a way to fill the gap via an NFL trade is not out of the question. One name they should look into is Bruce Irvin.
A key pass rusher for the Seattle Seahawks the past few seasons, his contract is set to expire in 2016. This led to rumors that the defending NFC champions were looking to trade him, with Atlanta being the prime destination and a reunion with coach Dan Quinn.
Them declining his 5th year contract option was a further eye-opener. It doesn’t close the door on an extension, but it does open another door to trade discussions. After all, Seattle and the Saints have already done business this year with their blockbuster Jimmy Graham deal. It’s never surprising to see two teams do business together on more than one occasion.
Irvin represents an ideal insurance policy. He’s a good fit for their 3-4 scheme and would inject some energy into their pass rush. The big question will be whether head coach Sean Payton can handle Irvin’s baggage of hotheadedness that comes with.
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