On June 11, the Bears signed Ellis to a one-year contract worth $1 million that included $500,000 in guarantees. Ellis in essence took the reserve spot once held by veteran Israel Idonije, giving the Bears a player better suited for a full-time role as a defensive tackle.
Two weeks later, on June 26, the Lions signed Idonije to a one-year, $905,000 deal that included $485,000 in guarantees. Idonije could play end or tackle for the Lions, or probably both, in a reserve role.
If Ellis had retired in June rather than Thursday, would the Bears have pursued Idonije more aggressively? We can't know for sure. But we do know that Ellis and Idonije signed almost identical contracts. Less than two months later, one is apparently ready for training camp and the other is done.