Tuesday's announcement was no surprise.
A week before, team owner Jerry Jones said the club was planning to cut Ellis if he couldn't be traded.
The Cowboys bypassed Randy Moss to take Ellis with the eighth overall pick in the 1998 draft. He had 77 sacks and 634 tackles over 162 games and led the team in sacks six times.
Ellis was a defensive end for most of that time, then moved to linebacker when Bill Parcells changed to a 3-4 defense. He grumbled at first, then tore his Achilles' tendon. He returned in 2007 and had his best season with 12 ½ sacks in 13 games, earning NFL comeback player of the year honors.