The Oakland Raiders can start negotiating with free agents Monday, the kickoff to this year’s shopping spree for veteran players available from other teams.
But before general manager Reggie McKenzie and head coach Jon Gruden began the process of adding new players, they re-signed one of their own.
Defensive tackle Justin Ellis and the Raiders agreed to a three-year deal this past weekend worth about $6 million.
Ellis, 27, was due to become an unrestricted free agent.
Ellis, a fourth-round Raiders pick out of Louisiana Tech in 2014, started 14 of 16 games in 2017 and has 41 starts in his four seasons in Oakland.
His value is as a big body (6-foot-2, 335 pounds) in the middle of the defensive line against the run. “Jelly,” as he’s known to teammates, has just a half of a sack over four seasons, that coming in 2017. He was in on 48 tackles this past season — a career high.
Ellis had his best season in 2017 after coming into camp in the best shape of his pro career. Ellis shed about nine pounds and added more muscle, he said in training camp.
“I feel like I have been having decent seasons, but I wanted to do better, so I figured I would try this, move around a little better, be more active,” he told the San Francisco Chronicle.
The Raiders are expected to add more help at defensive tackle through free agency or the draft, but wanted to keep Ellis in the mix as well.