With Shaun Ellis in limbo, Muhammad Wilkerson takes over starting job

AP

Jets defensive end Shaun Ellis is one of the few players from our top-80 free agent list that remains unsigned.

We ranked him so high (No. 53) in part because he was the Jets’ best front seven player in the playoffs last year. (And it wasn’t even close.) Yet the Jets seem ready to move on without him because of first-round pick Muhammad Wilkerson.

“He belongs, he’s our starting defensive end right now the day he walked in here. We need him to be a player, and he’s starting right now,” Rex Ryan said on Tuesday via the Newark Star-Ledger.

Ryan said that Ellis would “start” if he returns, but his role would be dramatically reduced in favor of Wilkerson.  Ryan sees a lot of Trevor Pryce’s characteristics in Wilkerson.

So where does this leave Ellis?

“Shaun would like to continue to play for the Jetsand finish his career a Jet, but for now he’s contemplating his options,” Ellis’ agent told Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.

Translation: Shaun isn’t in a huge hurry to go to training camp for the veteran’s minimum, which is what they have offered.

This is usually the time when the Patriots would become interested.