In an abbreviated offseason free agency period that’s been full of surprises, long-time New York Jets defensive end Shaun Ellis added one more to the fire.
Ellis, who has spent his entire 11-year career with the Jets up until now, has decided to take a one-year deal with the rival New England Patriots, who were looking for defensive line depth.
Perhaps the fact that Ellis chose to move on was not a surprise in itself. Although he was a Pro Bowl player as recently as 2009, the Jets seem comfortable with the young defensive line depth they already have.
Sione Pouha and Mike DeVito have proven themselves over the last two seasons as elite run defenders, although they don’t bring much of a pass rush. But that’s what rookies Muhammad Wilkerson and Kenrick Ellis are presumably for.
No, the shocking part of the deal is the team itself. After 11 years with the Jets, after being drafted in the first round with a pick acquired when Bill Belichick left the Jets to coach New England in 2000, he’s going to the very same team and very same coach he’s been battling twice a year every year of his career.
The Jets had offered Ellis a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum of $910,000, but Ellis was not having it. He wanted a contract extension to retire a Jet, but the team was not willing to commit to that.
Instead, Ellis will go to the dark side, playing for Bill Belichick and the Patriots. Quite frankly, it’s just weird.
Ellis definitely showed he had something left in the tank, especially in a dominant performance against the Patriots in the Jets’ epic playoff victory in Foxboro last season.
I wish him well, but not against us. He’s a good man, and a good player. But it will be impossible for me to root for him with that uniform on.