According to rumors that surfaced this week, the Cowboys may be trading or releasing veteran linebacker Greg Ellis in the near future. Ellis is an interesting character. While he is by all accounts a good teammate, he has in the past had a difficult time properly managing the relationship between he and the team. Greg Ellis is generally liked by teammates, but has repeatedly used the media to voice his frustrations pertaining to issues such as his role or his contract.
Jerry Jones and company have made a genuine effort to turn the Cowboys organization into more of a team. Player who have in the past refused to toe the line are no longer around. Pacman Jones' unreliability made his release a no-brainer, but outspoken players and excuse makers such as Terrell Owens and Roy Williams have been shown the door as well. Greg Ellis is not a cancer in the traditional sense. He is not a bad teammate, but is at times a bad example for a young (and getting younger) team. The Cowboys' recent efforts have been directed at making the Cowboys a closer knit group, much like a family. Families handle their beef in-house. The Cowboys cannot allow old uncle Greg to continue to put family business in the street.
Greg Ellis is still a valuable player to the team and would be sorely missed should he be moved. However, if the Cowboys are truly interested in cleansing the organization, keeping a problematic player around because of his on-field value would undermine the team's efforts. If you are going to clean up a locker room, clean it all the way up. If the Cowboys really want to change a culture that has been lackadaisical and un-phased by authority, then they have got to go through the roster and yank every nail that sticks out. It shouldn't matter if it is the starting quarterback or the third-string tight end. It shouldn't make any difference whether or not the team has a viable replacement on board. You worry about those things later, you just cut the cord and move on.
Keeping Greg Ellis around solely out of fear of losing his on-field production would destroy any credibility the Cowboys have built this off season. Greg Ellis is aging, paranoid, and has repeatedly proved his unwillingness to censor his comments about the organization. If the Cowboys can get as much as a 6th round pick in return for Ellis, they should make it happen. If not, then the Cowboys need to grant Ellis his outright release, therefore rubbing out the final stain in a once-messy Cowboy locker room.