Free Agent Greg Ellis Signs With the Raiders

Paula LehmanCorrespondent IJune 15, 2009

DENVER - AUGUST 16:  Linebacker Greg Ellis #98 of the Dallas Cowboys prepares for action against the Denver Broncos during preseason NFL action at Invesco Field at Mile High on August 16, 2008 in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos defeated the Cowboys 23-13.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Former Cowboy Greg Ellis just won himself a three-year contract with the Oakland Raiders. He may be 34, but this 6-6, 262 lb. linebacker can still put the hurt on. After missing the 2006 season due to a torn Achilles heel, Ellis made 12.5 sacks upon his return and was named the NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 2007.

Last season Ellis made 36 tackles, 25 of them without any help.

The UNC alum is certainly not to be messed with and the Raiders could definitely use a hard hitter on the front lines. The 2009 Raiders are a young team. Going into his 13th season in the NFL, Ellis could provide some much-needed experience and leadership to a defense that made only 32 sacks last season.

The Raiders' desperation for such a coveted linebacker shows in the contract they've given him. While most signers received one-year contracts this season, the Raiders have signed Ellis for a full three years.

His tradition of trash-talking may give him the appearance of a gruff bully, but if that's what it takes to motivate big hits it may be worth it. It is unlikely his attitude will disrupt the team in true T.O. fashion.

Ellis' release from the Cowboys was a win-win for both Dallas and Oakland. The Cowboys have now beefed up their bank account to make a long-term offer for DeMarcus Ware (they are expected to get back $4.15 million against this year’s salary cap) and the Raiders may finally be spending money in the right place after signing controversial newbies Darrius Heyward-Bay and Michael Mitchell.

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