Thursday, August 4, 2011
Shaun Ellis Latest Defensive Lineman To Stop By Gillette Stadium
The names of free agent defensive linemen that have been shuttling through Foxborough this week have been fascinating and I think the one I just read is the best one yet: Shaun Ellis.
A 2000 first-round pick of the New York Jets, Ellis is a former captain for the Patriots' most hated rival that has spent his entire career in the shadow of Fireman Ed and Rex Ryan's fat ass.
The 12th overall pick of the Jets (received from the Patriots as compensation for hiring Bill Belichick as head coach) in 2000, Ellis has spent his entire career in New York. While once a 4-3 defensive tackle, he has played the last several years at defensive end in the 3-4 scheme of current Jets head coach Rex Ryan and former head coach Eric Mangini.
Never playing less than 13 games in any season, Ellis has been a steady contributor for the Jets, tallying 72.5 career sacks. Last season, Ellis recorded 4.5 sacks, plus an additional two sacks against the Patriots in their AFC Divisional Playoff match-up.
At 6-foot-5, 290 pounds, Ellis would appear to fit best at 3-4 defensive end with the Patriots. With proven pass-rushing experience, however, it is possible that Ellis could shift outside to end in the 4-3 scheme that the Patriots have shown early in training camp.
It is also possible that Ellis is being looked at as an interior option in the 4-3 scheme, perhaps in a role similar to that of current Patriots defensive tackle Mike Wright.
According to ESPNNewYork.com's Rich Cimini, the Jets have made Ellis a one-year offer to return to New York at the veteran minimum salary of $910,000.
Ellis is clearly long in the tooth so it's doubtful that he has much left in the tank, particularly since he's been so durable up until now. On the other hand, it would add yet another layer to this rivalry that dare I say has become the best in the NFL. The Jets are usually the ones to sign some scrub off the Patriots' scrap heap (Matt Chatham and Kevin O'Connell come to mind from recent memory) but if Bill Belichick and Co. decided to go with Ellis, I wouldn't fault them.