Cowboys release Greg Ellis

by - June 2, 2009 - Posted in Offseason

The Cowboys today officially cut loose their longest tenured player, linebacker Greg Ellis.

You’ll recall that Jerry passed on Randy Moss to draft Mr. Ellis in 1998, only to watch Randy destroy the ‘Boys every chance he got en route to a superb (if not controversial) career. To be fair, Ellis was a solid player for a decade and despite some initial groaning Ellis moved to linebacker at the request of Bill Parcells and flourished there. Jerry’s decision to draft Anothy Spencer in 2007 created paranoia for Ellis, then coming off a major achillies injury. Since that time he’s talked annually around this time of year about his distrust of Cowboys management and has become a bit of a distraction.

…but the question remains – did Jerry screw this one up? For a player as productive as Ellis has been did he handle this situation the right way? Jerry made no bones about the fact recently that Ellis did not fit into the team’s plan. As a result no teams offered trades, and Jerry was forced to release a solid player with no compensation in return. Sure, there are cap considerations, but did Jerry do the right thing?

8 Responses to Cowboys release Greg Ellis

Jeff

June 2nd, 2009 at 3:34 pm

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Ellis was never utilized to his full potential, he definitely could have been an asset to the Cowboys this season, and he deserved to be treated better for all his years of self-less devotion to the Cowboys. What I don't understand is why were the Cowboys so public in announcing that they were going to cut him if they couldn't trade him? What team is going to give something up in a trade knowing they can just get him for nothing in a few more days? Where is the sense in that?
Oh, and is this website devoted to just removing Jerry from the Cowboys altogether now instead of just GM? I was just wondering given the recent name change.

Luis

June 3rd, 2009 at 11:33 am

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Yes, Jerry did do the right thing. Not only was Ellis a malcontent, but he's also on the wrong side of 30. Top it off with the fact that he was blocking Spencer and you have the perfect recipe for Ellis to be shown the door.

Let's face it, Ellis recorded 8 sacks in limited duty as a dedicated pass rusher. My feeling is that they could get a combination of Victor Butler and Jason Williams to produce those kinds of numbers, only at a much more friendly price. And with 100% less whining.

As for the compensation, I don't think they would have received much for him anyway. A bag of balls is probably the best offer they had on the table.

Jeff

June 3rd, 2009 at 2:15 pm

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Spencer nothing. He hasn't proven himself yet to be a keeper. Why give up someone dependable like Ellis when you aren't sure if you can depend yet on Spencer? Unless Spencer or someone else on the D really surprises us, we're going to realize how much we depended on Ellis, especially Demarcus Ware. The presence of Ellis probably has a lot to do with why Ware was free to do the things he could do. Now unless someone else really steps-up as a pass rusher, Ware is going to be double-teamed a lot more. I still stand by my claim that Ellis wasn't appreciated enough. Yes, he whined about being moved to linebacker but anybody else would too after being a defensive end all these years. But, he did his job and didn't stir-up crap in a locker room known for the stir.

Luis

June 3rd, 2009 at 2:30 pm

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I'm not sure that I agree with that. The other side of that argument is that Ellis was able to still put up the numbers that he did because Ware was constantly drawing attention from the offensive protection. We're talking about a guy who ended the season within sniffing distance of breaking the single-season sack record. I find it really hard to think that it had more to do with Ellis, than Ware himself.

Ellis was never really adept at doing the other things that linebackers must do, outside of rushing the passer. Age and injuries have taken their toll on Ellis and he just isn't someone that I feel really comfortable with throwing out into the flat to cover Brian Westbrook. Is he still a useful player? Sure he is. But at what cost? His contract, along with all of the other contracts that Jerry has been dumping, were the biggest obstacle to the #1 priority in the next offseason: re-sign DeMarcus Ware.

In the end, this all comes down to dollars and sense. Ellis has been squawking for numerous offseasons now. And even though it's difficult to quantify what effect that might have had on the team, it's definitely something that was as visible as Roy Williams' belly-aching. Let's give credit where credit is due – Jerry has been purging the roster of unsavory characters, bad contracts and personnel that might get in the way of the ultimate goal. And it's about damn time.

As for Spencer, he may or may not be ready. But it's hard to tell based on his limited playing time – for us, anyway. I doubt the front office would have made this move without having some sort of indication that Spencer may be ready to take over that role.

Jeff

June 4th, 2009 at 9:33 am

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You're wrong Luis, you're just plain wrong. Given Jerry's track-record, how can you put any confidence in the Cowboys front office?

Luis

June 4th, 2009 at 9:49 am

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I don't really have any confidence in them. But I'm willing to give credit when it's due. Getting rid of TO, Tank Johnson, Pacman Jones, Roy Williams and Greg Ellis were all positive moves for the team.

Despite that, I still wouldn't call it a “good” offseason. Allowing Kevin Burnett to walk was a monumental mistake. Trading Anthony Henry for Jon Kitna was reactionary and stupid. And they also had one of the worst drafts in recent memory.

So it's not like I'm going to start turning pro-Jerry anytime soon. I just happen to think that giving Ellis his walking papers was a good decision.

Jeff

June 4th, 2009 at 2:33 pm

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You're wrong Luis, you're just plain wrong. Given Jerry's track-record, how can you put any confidence in the Cowboys front office?

Luis

June 4th, 2009 at 2:49 pm

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I don't really have any confidence in them. But I'm willing to give credit when it's due. Getting rid of TO, Tank Johnson, Pacman Jones, Roy Williams and Greg Ellis were all positive moves for the team.

Despite that, I still wouldn't call it a “good” offseason. Allowing Kevin Burnett to walk was a monumental mistake. Trading Anthony Henry for Jon Kitna was reactionary and stupid. And they also had one of the worst drafts in recent memory.

So it's not like I'm going to start turning pro-Jerry anytime soon. I just happen to think that giving Ellis his walking papers was a good decision.