Ellis signing clears way for Burgess trade

The Raiders' signing of defensive end Greg Ellis was meant to bolster the team's pass rush but it also could be the move that opens the door for the team to move forward on a trade for Derrick Burgess.

Ellis, who was released by the Dallas Cowboys earlier this month, has 20 ½ sacks over the past two seasons and 77 for his career, eighth most in franchise history. The 33-year-old is also coming off his most productive year since 2004 but had been at odds with Cowboys management for the past few years, which was why he was released.

Oakland became immediately interested in Ellis, who has the flexibility to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 and defensive end in a 4-3. Raiders defensive coordinator John Marshall historically has used both, though the team has only shown a 4-3 look during its offseason workouts.

By signing Ellis, who was also rumored to be in talks with the San Francisco 49ers, the Raiders gained some insurance in case the team decides to move forward with a trade involving two-time Pro Bowl defensive end Derrick Burgess.

Burgess has been the subject of trade rumors for months now but the Raiders' asking price was deemed too high by some suitors. Now that Ellis is in the fold, owner Al Davis may be willing to back down on his asking price.

Burgess has not attended any of the team's OTAs or offseason workouts, save for a brief appearance at the team's minicamp in May. He did not take part in any of the individual or team drills due to an upset stomach.

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