RICHMOND, Va. -- The Washington Redskins upgraded their pass rush Friday -- but they did it with a player who arrives with off-the-field issues.
The Redskins signed linebacker Junior Galette, released earlier in the week by the New Orleans Saints, to a one-year deal for the league minimum for a fourth-year player, which is $745,000. The Saints cut him even though it will cost them $17 million in cap space over the next two seasons.
Galette's agent, Alvin Keels, said on Twitter on Friday that Galette "is grateful for the second chance he is being afforded."
Galette said he liked general manager Scot McCloughan's honesty.
"He told me what he wanted out of me and what he expected out of me," he said. "He shared the passion and enthusiasm I had. I'm just thankful to be with such a functional organization.
"He knows I'm a good person. Obviously I made some mistakes. We all make mistakes. It's what you do after that. I'm ready to learn from them and be part of this organization that is taking me in as a family."
Galette remains under investigation by the NFL for off-the-field issues, which could lead to a suspension.
"Whatever the decision is, we'll live with it," Redskins coach Jay Gruden said of any discipline the NFL might hand out.
On July 7, Galette was cited for driving with an expired license, driving a vehicle with a suspended license and not having a proper brake tag, according to Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, records. His arraignment is scheduled for Aug. 10.
Galette was also charged with domestic violence in January after allegedly injuring a female houseguest while trying to remove her from his home. Charges were dismissed in that case, although a civil suit is still pending.
In addition, the Saints and the NFL were made aware of a 2013 video that surfaced in July that allegedly shows Galette striking a woman with a belt during a group scuffle on a beach that was recorded by an onlooker.
In the video, a man who appears to be Galette fights another man using his belt. He then swings the belt at the surrounding group and strikes a woman twice with it. Later on, he shoves several people and throws a punch.
"That's the past," Galette said. "I'm not here to talk about the past. I'm here to talk about what I'm going to do and bring to this team. Obviously passion is a great quality that's worked for me. I just have to stay enthused... It's a humbling experience I've been through. I'm just ready to play ball."
Galette's attorney, Ralph Whalen, told media outlets that there is no proof that his client is the person in the video. No charges were filed in that incident.
"You bring a guy like this in who has a checkered past, we feel the locker room is strong enough that we can help him out," Gruden said Friday. "In talking to Junior, he was very thankful for the opportunity New Orleans gave him, very remorseful about what happened, very disappointed to be in the situation he's in. He wanted ... a second chance. All we can go by is what we think and our gut feeling. That's what we did."
Galette, entering his sixth season, earned a four-year, $41.5 million deal with New Orleans before the 2014 season, with $23 million guaranteed. He broke out with 12 sacks in 2013, continuing his rise as a former undrafted free agent. He recorded 10 sacks in 2014, but there were rumblings about issues involving him in the locker room.
"He's a very disruptive defensive end and can only help us in that regard," Gruden said. "He still has to earn his stripes."
He could provide the Redskins with the sort of pass-rush help they've sought since last season ended. They allowed outside linebacker Brian Orakpo to sign with Tennessee in free agency and drafted linebacker Preston Smith in the second round. They also have second-year outside linebacker Trent Murphy. Washington had just 36 sacks last season.
One Redskins source said the team is comfortable bringing aboard a player like Galette in part because of the veteran leadership Washington added in the offseason, including safety Dashon Goldson and nose tackle Terrance Knighton. The Redskins can also point to how DeSean Jackson performed after they signed him following a surprising release by Philadelphia.
"Some guys on the team know [Galette] quite well, and they don't think there's any issue whatsoever," Gruden said. "It's a great group, and we'll be fine."
Knighton played two seasons with Galette at Temple University. Galette was dismissed from the program after a cousin who was staying with him stole computers from a dorm room.
"Sometimes with guys you never know the real story, but being in the business we're in and with all the things that's going on with domestic violence, the league has zero tolerance for it, which they should," Knighton said. "He caught a bad break. Sometimes guys just react out of human nature instead of thinking about the big picture. He's a great player. He has a great passion for the sport.
"He has a lot of pride. He has a big heart and loves the game. I wouldn't mind taking on the challenge of helping him get on the right path."
Information from ESPN Saints reporter Mike Triplett and The Associated Press contributed to this report.