It seems every time a player who has ever had any sort of success in the NFL is released by his team, there are always a few Raider fans who insist that the Raiders should make a play for him.
But not every player would be a good fit for this team – because they don’t fit the scheme, they wouldn’t be a good locker room presence, or they don’t fit into the plans the team has put forth.
Greg Ellis is not a good fit just like Terrell Owens would not have been a good fit and DeAngelo Hall was not a good fit before that. (NOTE: For the record, I said the DeAngelo Hall deal was a BAD idea right when it was made and well before he had his terrible $8 million half season.)
His numbers aside, Ellis is well known as a constant whiner who puts the business side of football ahead of his duties on the field.
In 2006, Ellis complained when asked to move to a 3-4 linebacker. He thought he was too small to play the position because he would have to take on double teams. He also asked the team for more money to guarantee him against failure in this new role. A year later the team drafted Anthony Spencer in the first round in ‘07 and he complained again because he was certain the team was trying to replace him. Again, he asked for more money, this time it was to show the team’s commitment to him.
Is this the kind of guy we want as a mentor for our young players? A guy who complains at every turn and asks for more money constantly? Sure, he was the comeback player of the year in ‘07 but that was only after he milked an injury (admittedly so) until the team paid him more money. After he missed the preseason that year, he is probably of the mind that the more camp he misses, the better he plays. That is not the example I would want at the Raiders’ youngest position.
Ellis would not be pushing anyone to get better either. He wants to start and that is all he cares about. If he is not guaranteed to start, he will mope around and complain just as his recent reputation proves. He is threatened by young competition for his job. He is not a team guy which is what Tom Cable and others have been talking about all offseason as the number one priority for players on this Raiders team.
These are the reasons that the Dolphins traded Jason Taylor to the Redskins and the same reason the Redskins released Taylor after just one season with the team. The Dolphins were undergoing a youth movement at the position and Taylor was thought to be getting in the way of that. Then with the Redskins, he didn’t want to have to be present for the better portion of camp. Taylor was only welcomed back to the Dolphins because he is willing to take on the role of “third down pass rusher.” The Raiders are in a youth movement as well, and while a veteran presence is a necessity, it must be veterans with a team-first, winning attitude.
The Cowboys have been spending this offseason purging themselves of their drama. They cut ties with Pac Man Jones, released Terrell Owens, and let Tank Johnson and Roy “Horse Collar” Williams walk. And when the team drafted two players at the defensive end position and Ellis started up with his pouting again, he became what the Cowboys hope to be the final piece in their malcontent cleansing.
Rumor has it that the Patriots are interested in Greg Ellis’ services (as is the case with every available, over the hill player in the NFL). Let the Patriots take on Ellis and his constant complaining. Hell, they can take the Raiders over 30 defensive end if they want to pony up a second rounder for him. Taking on older players who may have a couple of years left in the tank is not the Raiders MO these days. That is what the Patriots do because their scams schemes don’t require a lot of athleticism (just a lot of videotape). The Raiders scheme does.
So whatever the price, Greg Ellis is just a bad fit, both on the field and off, and not much good can come of such a signing — in my not so humble opinion.
While Greg Ellis has been a pretty good player in this league for 11 seasons, he has never quite lived up to his draft status. He was the #8 pick in the 1998 draft (most famously the pick just prior to the Vikings taking the unmentionable cancer receiver whom a rolling stone would not gather) and it took him nine seasons to break the 10 sack single season plateau. And that was only after he held out of training camp until the team gave him more money. That was his only double digit sack season (12.5) and was also his one and only Pro Bowl season, after which he reverted back to single digit sacks and, at age 33, is on the downside of his career.