Ellis and the Patriots reached agreement on a one-year deal, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter. Ellis will receive $4 million this season with a chance to make another $1 million in performance incentives, a source told ESPN.com senior NFL writer John Clayton.
The Jets had made a one-year offer for the veterans' minimum of $910,000, according to Ellis' agent, Mitch Frankel. The Patriots discussed a two-year deal with Ellis, but he preferred the one-year deal, the source said.
Jets coach Rex Ryan addressed Ellis' departure Sunday.
"The fact that he chose them ... there's no way I'm going to wish him well," Ryan said Sunday. "There's no chance of that.
"I wish him to be healthy, but I don't want him to play that well. But he knows. I know the way he is too. He's going to be revved up, ready to go, and our guys will be too. So it will be fun going against him."
New England has been looking to upgrade its pass rush and it believes it will do so with the 34-year-old Ellis, who has played 11 seasons with the Jets after New York picked him with the 12th overall pick of the 2000 draft.
Ellis has earned respect throughout a career in which he has piled up 72½ sacks, ranking third on the Jets' career list behind Joe Klecko (77½) and Mark Gastineau (107½).
Ellis has been a reliable player, missing just six games since becoming a starter in 2001. His ability to play all along the line made him a valuable part of Rex Ryan's aggressive Jets defense.
The Jets used their first-round pick to select Ellis' heir apparent, Muhammad Wilkerson, who has been working with the starting unit in training camp. Ryan has praised Wilkerson, saying he expects the former Temple standout to be the Week 1 starter. Ryan had said that he would have liked to bring back Ellis, although he made it clear that his playing time would be reduced.
The Patriots have looked thin at defensive end in training camp, with Jermaine Cunningham (second year) and Eric Moore (sixth year) running with the top group as part of a four-man line. There was a significant drop-off in experience after Cunningham and Moore, which the Patriots addressed, in part, with the signing of speed rusher Mark Anderson (6-foot-4, 255 pounds) on Friday.
At 6-foot-5, 290 pounds, Ellis is more stout than the team's current ends from a run-game perspective, but also has shown the ability to generate a pass-rush. Ellis has played in both 3-4 and 4-3 schemes in his time with the Jets.
After their morning walkthrough Sunday, a few Jets joked that plenty of New York's players have gotten invitations to join the Patriots, such as tight end Chris Baker and running back Danny Woodhead. Baker is now with the Seattle Seahawks.
"It seems like the Patriots love Jets players," guard Matt Slauson said. "I think it's because (coach Bill) Belichick up there wants some insights."
Another Jet joked that Ellis might want to hold back some of the good information so that he doesn't get cut before Week 1, when salaries are guaranteed.
But several mentioned that they still respect Ellis despite his departure to a rival, given the nature of the negotiations between the Jets and one of their longest-serving players.
"I mean there are ramifications of the rivalry and the divisional chaos that we have between each other," defensive tackle Sione Pouha said. "But at the end of the day you respect the decision that the person has. We had Baker go over there a few years ago, same situation. You respect the decision and you just carry on."
ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss, ESPNNewYork.com's Rich Cimini and Jane McManus contributed to this report. Information from The Associated Press also was used.