In the end, soon-to-be former Dallas Cowboy Greg Ellis is so much Michael Finley and Michael Young: A great leader and good player buried in a shitty era.
Considering the 33-year-old Ellis' diminishing returns and escalating complaining and the anticipated rise of Anthony Spencer, it makes perfect sense for the Cowboys to sever ties with the 1998 first-round pick. Doubtful if a team will do the Cowboys a favor and trade for Ellis, but even his outright release would save enough money to sweeten a long-term deal for DeMarcus Ware.
Simply put, it's time.
Ellis played hard and mostly well in his 11 seasons in Dallas. He's eighth on the all-time sacks list and in '07 he recovered from a torn Achilles to make the Pro Bowl. Last year he was a defensive captain.
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Problem. When you have me-first guys like Ellis and Terrell Owens as captains, is it any wonder you implode into 9-7?
Ellis' public complaints about his role or his contract became a nuisance, even a distraction. His departure sends another positive message this off-season.
Don't look now, but gone from last year are Tank Johnson, Owens, Pacman Jones and Ellis. Unless you count free agent Asaph Schwapp's arrest for packing Ninja throwing stars, what's left at Valley Ranch is a bunch of CowBoy Scouts. (Charges from Spencer's January arrest for disorderly conduct and public intoxication in Indianapolis, by the way, were dropped.)
With Ellis gone the Cowboys will have a better locker room. Don't be surprised if they have a better team.