Some people have already complained that we're aiming at players who are a bit too old, that we shouldn't give valuable playing reps to guys like Zach Thomas and that one veteran LB (Mike Vrabel) is enough. And if that's your belief, then you're really going to hate this idea: bring in another one.
Pass rush. That's the choice that we made. We had a chance to shore up our linebacking corps in a big way in the draft, but we chose Door #2 - the pass rush. Our first two choices were d-line and we even went defensive back in the fourth round. It's almost as if we avoided addressing our linebacking corps like last year's linebackers avoided making solid tackles. So in terms of "young guys who should be getting some PT there"... well, that just doesn't hold water because there's simply none who deserve those reps.
Rehabbing Tamba Hali's career makes a bit of sense (although I personally don't believe that transition will pan out). Demorrio Williams had some fans - at least when we signed him last year. Brian Johnston's mom posts on AP from time to time to let us know he's full of potential. But obviously the front office believes an infusion of veteran leadership in the middle is what unites the defense on the field. And, if that's the case, a guy currently sitting at home makes a whole lot of sense.
Enter Greg Ellis. The Cowboys want to trade him, but that's not happening. Why? Because once they trade him, his contract AND signing bonus become guaranteed, making him cost $5.6 million in cap room. While several teams still have varying levels of cap room, there remain many rookies to sign and several holes to fill and no one I'm aware of wants to give Jerry Jones a moment of relief. Releasing Ellis gives the Cowboys some cap relief of 4.15 million since they only owe him a guarantee of 1.5 million if cut.
But if you're the Chiefs, who knows if Ellis is willing to come your way? After all, 30 other teams are always in need of a pass rush, a defensive presence and someone who is only one season removed from the Pro Bowl and 12.5 sacks (in only 12 games). With 77 total sacks in his career, it's obvious Ellis has a knack for the one thing the Chiefs truly need - players who can disrupt the opponents backfield and get at the quarterback. But the Chiefs aren't the only team salivating over the ability to add such a player and I can definitely see an NFC East team signing Ellis for info on the Cowboys' plans alone.
So if you're the Chiefs, you have an opportunity here - to control a player's destiny and add an outside linebacker who is already familiar with the 3-4. Ellis holds much more experience in the 4-3, giving flexibility and insight into a transitioning defense. The cap room is already in house, as we all know, and the need still remains on the defensive side for a pass rushing linebacker without giving up valuable PT of one of our young guys.
Sometimes trades are brought up on AP that make absolutely no sense ("why don't we trade our 3rd round pick for Julius Peppers?" or "we should trade Larry Johnson for Albert Haynesworth!") Of course those are usually written with the caps lock button on and with Chiefs spelled c-h-e-e-f-s. But Ellis seems one trade candidate that makes a lot of sense for KC and one I hope Pioli and Co. are thinking long and hard about.