"I think he can be," Raiders coach Tom Cable said Wednesday. "You look at the film and he's been doing that, albeit in a different position. This is a guy you would rely on to come in and compete to be a starter and all that. He's got so much left in terms of where he's at physically, in terms of his body, his production, so (it's) just a positive for our team."
Burgess has also been the subject of trade rumors this offseason, but the Raiders insist the signing of Ellis is not related to that situation.
"I don't think it has anything to do with it at this point," Cable said. "This was just let's make our team better and here's the next opportunity to do that."
Ellis didn't speak to reporters Wednesday. He was escorted off the practice field by a member of the Raiders' public relations staff.
The NFL's Comeback Player of the Year in 2007 when he garnered his only Pro Bowl selection, Ellis had been at odds with the Cowboys for several years. He was finally released by the team on June 2 in a move Dallas owner Jerry Jones said was based more on performance than pay.
Ellis, who was scheduled to earn $5.6 million in salary and bonuses from the Cowboys in 2009, drew interest from several teams before agreeing to a three-year deal with Oakland.
"It came about pretty quick last week, and once it got in motion, I think this was the place he wanted to be," Cable said. "What we're doing defensively, it fits him. It makes our team better."
Ellis has had at least 7.5 sacks in seven of his 11 NFL seasons and has started all but six of the 162 games he has played in during his career.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press