million into the dead money pot against the cap, raising the total to some $23 million already; and two, as pointed out in the Roster Rundown, who are the backups at outside linebacker if Ellis is not here? Justin Rogers and Matt Stewart, and whatever happens in the draft? Oh my.
"I figured they would just let me go," Ellis said.
Now understand, unlike Ellis' previous off-seasons of discontent, his beef is not about how much he's going to make. He'd be foolish to say anything of the like after Cowboys owner Jerry Jones basically bought him out of the insurance policy he desperately was clinging to that summer of 2007 and turned that into salary these past two seasons.
This time it's about the Cowboys simply assuming he's no longer a starter, maybe just a pass-rush specialist, which isn't bad duty for a guy going on 34, but not to Ellis, not yet anyway.
"Competing is what I do," Ellis said. "If he outperforms me and he's the starter, then, hey, OK."
He would go on to use a track analogy, saying, "If he races me and outruns me, OK, that's the way it should be. But to say I can't do it anymore, it ain't right.
"We aren't competing for the job."
The why-not of the matter?
Just another fact to support my theory Jerry and Stephen Jones are trying to make sure while scrambling to get back in the playoffs and finally rid themselves of that playoff monkey, not having won one of those games since 1996, they don't allow this team to grow old in the process.
Look at it in all these ways:
Keep Terrell Owens (going on 36) another year, and you stunt the growth of Roy WR Williams and Miles Austin, who they just have to find out about this year since he could become an unrestricted free agent next year if there is a salary cap.
Keep Anthony Henry (going on 33) and no matter what Mike Jenkins or Orlando Scandrick do, the coaching staff would err on the side of comfort, sticking with the trusty veteran as the starter. So another chance to get younger.
Re-sign Keith Davis (going on 31, if you can believe that), and you don't give a younger safety a chance to make this team as a special teams player, and as you saw last year, the more Davis played, the more injuries started piling up.
Keep hoping for Roy SS Williams (going on 29) to turn around, and soon you'd have a 30-year-old safety who already seemed to have lost a step. Or, roll the dice on another year, and you don't roll some dice on Gerald Sensabaugh (going on 26) and you sure don't use a second- or third-round pick on a safety, which stills needs to be done if possible.
Recycle Brooks Bollinger (going on 30) as the third quarterback and they might never pick up a young quarterback either late in the draft or rookie free agency to groom.
Jump on now re-signing Carlos Polk (32) and lessen the chance of some 23-year-old sixth-round draft choice of making the team.
Signing linebacker Keith Brooking (going on 34) doesn't get the Cowboys considerably younger at the weak inside linebacker position, although he's two years younger than Zach Thomas (going on 36), but because they didn't sign him to an enormous contract, they can qualify say a linebacker taken in the second or third round eventually displacing him as the starter. And not immediately re-signing Kevin Burnett says one of two things, that either the Cowboys did not project him as a starter or they never could get right on the money, the nickel backer eventually signing with San Diego.
And hey, trading out Brad Johnson (going on 41) for Kitna (going on 37) isn't getting a whole lot younger at backup quarterback, but it's still four years younger and for a guy who at least had been starting the past three seasons until a back injury after four games last year gave the Lions an excuse to walk a different avenue.
So to me, seems as though this has been a conscious effort to get younger. Because bring back the seven aforementioned Thirtysomethings, and that jumps the Cowboys current total from nine to 14, since Johnson to Kitna and Thomas to Brooking are pushes.
Just look at one of