- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
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When the conversation turns to free agency and the Jets, the same four names come up -- Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards, Antonio Cromartie and Brad Smith. They're the Big Four.
The guy who never gets mentioned is Shaun Ellis -- the longest-tenured player on the team (11 seasons), the franchise's third all-time leading sacker (behind only Mark Gastineau and Joe Klecko) and winner of more post-season games than any Jet in history.
Ellis will hit the open market for the first time in his career, and it'll be interesting to see how the Jets approach it. He'll be 34 in June, and his production in 2010 was mediocre (4.5 sacks and 27 total tackles). On the plus side, he's durable, versatile and could be ideal on a one-year contract to help groom his replacement, quite likely someone that will be chosen with their first-round pick.
Bart Scott, for one, believes Ellis should be back with the Jets.
"Of course, he played tremendous for us throughout the playoffs," Scott told ESPNNewYork.com. "Of course I’d like to see him back. He’s a tremendous teammate, a tremendous leader. He's one of those staples, like Ray Lewis is in Baltimore. He’s one of those guys. When you say Shaun Ellis, you think of the Jets."
Well, let's not put him on the Lewis level, but there's no doubt that Ellis is a revered leader on the team. How much is that worth in dollars? We're going to find out ... if the league and union can get a CBA done in Washington D.C.