The Patriots have reportedly agreed to sign free-agent defensive end Shaun Ellis, who has been a staple of the Jets' defense for the last decade. And when Belichick burned the Jets to take the Patriots' job in 2000, New England was forced to fork over a first-round draft pick, which the Jets used to select Ellis.
Now, Belichick and Ellis get a crack at their own payback. Last season, Ellis apparently wanted a long-term deal to stay in New York, but the Jets weren't willing to extend him. Ellis, who turned 34 in June, had 4.5 sacks in 2010, which was his lowest total since 2005, but he might have been their best defensive player in the playoff victory over the Patriots. With some added motivation, the Patriots are hoping he can return the favor.
Ellis will join a rotation along the defensive line with Vince Wilfork, Albert Haynesworth, Mike Wright, Ron Brace, Myron Pryor, Brandon Deaderick, Mark Anderson, Kyle Love and several others who are attempting to make the team. Jermaine Cunningham and Eric Moore have also played on the line in 4-3 fronts.
Ellis can play at end in the 4-3 and 3-4, and that versatility should give him ample playing time in the Patriots' ever-changing defensive system.
He's a solid player, and there's little doubt that he can help New England. By sticking it to the Jets in the process, it will be an added bonus.