Panthers trading DE Kony Ealy to Patriots for 2nd-round pick

On Friday New England completed a trade that will send their second-round pick (64th) to the Carolina Panthers for pass rusher Kony Ealy and a third-round pick (72nd). Ealy had three sacks, an interception a forced fumble and a fumble recovery against Peyton Manning in the Broncos' 24-10 victory in February of 2016. Ealy likely would have been the Super Bowl MVP if the Panthers won. He recorded four sacks as a rookie and has recorded five sacks in each of the past two seasons. The 6'4, 275-pound Ealy was a top performer in the 3-Cone Drill during the Combine that year.

The 25-year-old just hasn't gone wire to wire yet.

Defensive end was a high-priority position for the Patriots this offseason, as starters Trey Flowers and Rob Ninkovich return but reserve Chris Long has already said he won't be a Patriot next year.

Another oddly balanced move here, but given how edge rushers are getting overvalued in free agency right now, you have to think this may have been the most efficient way for New England to get a pass-rusher. The trade gives the Patriots some more depth at defensive end, while it only cost them eight spots in the draft.

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As for Ealy, Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia will attempt to find what the Panthers couldn't.

The Panthers spent this offseason loading up on veteran pass rushers, bringing back Julius Peppers and as re-signing Charles Johnson.

And if Ealy doesn't pan out?

  • Douglas Reid