The Carolina Panthers traded defensive end Kony Ealy along with a third-round draft pick to the New England Patriots for a second-round draft choice, ESPN reported Friday. In just 23 snaps, he recorded three sacks, got an interception and forced a fumble.
The deal for Ealy cost the Patriots their second round pick, however, they also acquired the Panthers' third round pick with Ealy in the deal.
Despite coming back to win the Super Bowl last month, it's clear the Patriots are not content. Ealy played 37% of the snaps as a rookie and had played almost 60% of the Panthers snaps over the past two season. The 6'4, 275-pound Ealy was a top performer in the 3-Cone Drill during the Combine that year. His age has to be intriguing from that perspective.
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.
Ealy will join Flowers and Rob Ninkovich as the Patriots edge players and could play a similar role to Jabaal Sheard in 2015. In recent years, the Patriots have done a nice job using a rotation at defensive end. If he doesn't pan out, they didn't give up much in the process. Obviously, the Panthers had given up on Ealy, evidenced by the minimal exchange rate, and his fate was likely sealed today when they re-signed Julius Peppers. "Yes, I will take him off your hands".