Monday, May 25, 2009

Is Greg Ellis Staying or Going?

The Cowboys sent Greg Ellis home from OTA's last week to prevent him from being injured while they attempt to negotiate a trade. This was a surprising revelation considering the lack of experienced depth at outside linebacker. Anthony Spencer was tabbed the starter early in the offseason but it was assumed that Ellis would be the pass rush specialist in the defense. The Cowboys drafted two players to develop at outside linebacker but I'm very surprised they are willing to go with two backups with no NFL experience over Ellis.

I think there are two things at play. Number one, Greg Ellis has a very high cap number for a guy who will be a part time player. The Cowboys have a little cap room right now but they have to get Demarcus Ware re-signed and sign their draft picks while staying under the salary cap. Releasing Ellis will create some cap room. The second issue at play is the attitude of Greg Ellis. He has never seemed very willing to relinquish his role as the starter. I wonder whether he is fighting the coaches over his new role in the defense.

I really respect Greg Ellis for battling back from two serious injuries and leading the team during some down years. But the last few years have seen him transform into a perpetual offseason whiner and complainer about his future role with the team. He is a good, not great player who doesn't seem to view himself that way. I respect the fact that he can't see himself as a backup but the Cowboys have to start cutting the cord on aging players. The mistake that Jerry Jones made with the team in the late 90's was relying on players in their twilight years and overpaying for their services. It seems like maybe Jerry has learned his lesson on that front.

I would love to see Ellis come back under a lower cap number and accept his role as a part time player but I don't see a realistic chance of that happening. Greg Ellis has been a great pro for the Cowboys and it will be sad to see him go. I hope he can have a few more good years in the league and find a place that makes him happy. Even with his complaining over the last few years I'll remember him as a solid player and a good person who did himself and the team proud while he was a Dallas Cowboy.


  1. I have so many different thoughts about this. Greg Ellis to me is one heck of a player. I mean yeah he gripes in the offseason alot, but he does go out there and play at a high level. He had 8 sacks last year and 12 and a half the year before that. I just think we will be losing alot of production if he is gone. Maybe saving all that money will be smarter for the future, but there is nobody to replace him this year. I'm just so worried about this season now. We lost Owens, Canty, Williams, Thomas, Davis and now possibly Ellis. How is this team better without all of these players? I hope Jerry really knows what he is doing.

  2. I have very mixed emotions on Ellis. His salary is too high but we are in a world of hurt without him. I don't feel the same about most of the other moves. We lost a big talent when T.O. was released but I feel like the rest of the holes created by the guys you mentioned were filled with players either equal or better. I don't know what to expect from this team this season.

  3. Like the other comments, I go back and forth with Ellis too. Early on I was ready to give up on him. For a 1st round draft pick he looked to be somewhat of a bust to me. He really didn't play like a 1st round pick his first 4-5 years. Think he under-performed and wasn't happy with his sack totals. I was ready to give up on him based on performance alone, and when he started whining in the off season, I DEFINITELY wouldn't have cared if they dumped him.
    Then he began to turn things around when they converted him to OLB in the 3-4. He still whined but was performing in his new role.

    Now I'm to the point where I'd like to keep him for at least another year. His production hasn't gone down and I'm not convinced the Cowboys have the depth on their roster to replace him straight up. I guess we'll see.. I just have to trust that the coaches and Jerry have a solid plan..

  4. Brooking is really the only guy I think will have a huge impact. I think he is the kind of leader they need on defense. The other new players, it's yet to be seen. I just wonder how much the production of Ware goes down if Ellis isn't there.

  5. If you go back and look at last season you will see that Spencer actually got a big portion of the playing time opposite Ware. The question in my mind is whether the other guys can step in to spell Spencer and Ware. I'm afraid Ware and Spencer will get worn down over the course of a game and the season because the backups will be too much of a liability to risk putting on the field. I hope they are ready to step up or this will prove to be a bad move.