After a long weekend of not much news, I wake up this morning to see Greg Ellis met with the Oakland Raiders on Sunday night. Not only did they meet, but they came to a handshake agreement with a contract to be finalized today.
It's being said the deal is for three years with the financials yet to come. The New England Patriots looked at him to be a 3-4 OLB in their system, but nothing ever came of that. Perhaps they're hoping to land Julius Peppers or Derrick Burgess via trade.
My first thought is, "Good signing." He's a veteran that's lasted in this league for a while. He's been durable, playing 11 years in the league. Seven of those years, he played 16 games, once played 15 games, and twice played 13 games, with his only "short" season coming in 2006. That year, he only played nine games due to a torn Achilles tendon.
After that Achilles injury, you'd figure, "This guy hasn't been hurt, so he won't know how to deal with it," but that wasn't the case. He rehabbed and came back a beast, earning 12.5 sacks in 13 games along with the tag, "NFL Comeback Player of the Year."
OK, so we know he can grind out a whole football season, no problem. Since 2002, he's gotten at least 7.5 sacks a year, not counting 2006. He's consistent.
So we now have added a 34-year-old (he'll turn 34 in August) to add to our line. He played OLB in Dallas, but that was in a 3-4 scheme. He should get plugged in at DE here.
Our defensive ends now look like this: Derrick Burgess, Greg Ellis, Jay Richardson, Trevor Scott, Derrick Grey, and Greyson Gunheim, along with rookies Matt Shaughnessy (third round), Stryker Sulak (sixth round) and Desmond Bryant (rookie free agent).
Burgess seems to be getting closer and closer to getting traded.
Richardson/Scott should start opposite Ellis. That'd leave Scott/Richardson, Gunheim, Shaughnessy, Sulak, Grey, and Bryant for situational pass rushing.
I do not mind rolling with that. Richardson/Scott should make some plays this year. If the younger guys learn from Ellis about what it takes to play 10+ years at a position where you get beat up constantly, I'm on board.
Here's the thing: Will the Raiders keep Burgess? If they do, how'd you feel about having Ellis and Burgess holding down the DE spots while the young guys sit back and watch?
I think the Raiders would be hand-cuffing themselves if they keep Scott as a situational pass rusher this year. Regardless, this move will help out the defense contain the edges better. A durable veteran who's had a consistent career can only help a bunch of young guys.