Linebacker Greg Ellis is officially no longer a member of the Cowboys.
The Cowboys released Ellis Tuesday, one week after owner Jerry Jones said he would not play with the team next year and gave him permission to seek a trade.
Unable to get a trade done, the Cowboys had no choice to be release their former 1998 first round pick.
The Cowboys blamed their decison on a combination of age, money and Ellis declining play. They also like the potential of 2007 first round pick Anthony Spencer who will replace Ellis, 34, in the starting lineup.
But make no mistake about, this was mostly about money.
The Cowboys will get back $4.15 million against this year’s salary cap. But they are still responsible for a $1.5 million guarantee that was put in Ellis’ contract in 2007. If Ellis signs with another team, the Cowboys would have to make up the difference if he does not earn $1.5 million on his new contract.
Possible landing spots for Ellis include the Patriots, Dolphins, Buccaneers and Bengals. The Patriots have a need for a veteran pass rusher. The latter three teams employ former Cowboys defensive coaches who have worked with Ellis in the past.
Ellis played in 162 games with 156 starts for the club. For his career, he has recorded 634 tackles, 36 tackles for losses, 197 quarterback pressures and 77.0 sacks – which ranks eighth on the team’s all-time sacks list. He earned his first career Pro Bowl trip following the 2007 season after recording a career-high 12.5 sacks in only 13 games and was also named the NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 2007 after returning from a ruptured Achilles tendon in 2006.
Ellis also led the Cowboys in sacks six times in his career, second in club history to Harvey Martin's seven times.
Clarence E. Hill Jr.