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NFL Free Agency: New England Should Sign Shaun Ellis, If the Price Is Right

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JANUARY 08:  Shaun Ellis #92 of the New York Jets takes the field with his teammates to play against the Indianapolis Colts during their 2011 AFC wild card playoff game at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 8, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Jets won 17-16. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Tony SantorsaSenior Writer IIJuly 12, 2011

When most players hit a certain age, all that matters to them is winning. Forget the huge contract with all the guaranteed money; veteran players that have had a solid NFL career will likely have a Super Bowl victory at the top of their wish list. 

Defensive linemen Shaun Ellis is one player that has hit that point of his career and certainly has his eyes set on a Vince Lombardi Trophy and could potentially be a beneficial player in a New England Patriots' Super Bowl run—however, the Patriots will have to outbid the New York Jets.

Ellis, who just turned 34 years old, is currently set to become a free agent and has shown that he's still got some gas left in the tank—take for an example his dominating performance against New England in the Jets' divisional round triumph.  

It should be believed that Ellis has likely earned a contract extension with the Jets, but will likely consider all offers once the NFL lockout is finally lifted—and the Patriots should definitely be one of those teams calling his agent. 

The Patriots are a first-hand witness on how dominating Ellis really can be, and if the price is right, Bill Belichick and the Patriots would likely welcome Ellis aboard. 

Not only would New England be adding a veteran presence along the team's inexperienced and often "thin" defensive line, but they'd be taking him away from the Jets. It's practically a win-win situation, only, of course, if Ellis produces to the level that he's capable of.

Ellis suited up in 15 games last year for the Jets, as he tallied up 36 tackles and a very respectable five sacks. 

If Ellis were to switch from New York's 4-3 defensive front to New England's 3-4, he'd best be fit as a nose guard, likely as Vince Wilfork's back-up. 

Over time's past, Wilfork has lined up in all three positions on New England's defensive line, despite his massive size—which could welcome the presence of the 290-pound Ellis. 

One intriguing thought is that Wilfork and Ellis could potentially be lined up as interior linemen at the exact same time in one of New England's sub packages. And in fact, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston, the Patriots used a sub-package 53.4 percent of the time rather than playing in their base alignment 44.5 percent of the time. 

The potential addition of Ellis would certainly be a gamble, and could even be counterproductive if the 11 year veteran misses any significant time due to injury. However, if Ellis manages to stay healthy and productive, it'd be a stellar addition as New England would be stealing his talents away from the Jets. 

 

For more articles like this, check out my blog at PatriotsPlus.net. Be sure to follow Tony Santorsa on Twitter @ TonySantorsa.    

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