Patriots Trade For Panthers DE Kony Ealy

The Patriots lost Jabaal Sheard to the Colts, and Chris Long plans on going elsewhere for more playing time, so they explored the trade market again, this time acquiring Kony Ealy from the Panthers, a defensive end that was the best player on the field in Super Bowl 50, and is only 25 years old as he enters his contract year.

The Patriots typically do more damage on the NFL trade market than most teams, and that trend has continued this week. On Friday New England decided it was time to address their depth at defensive end, so they traded a 2nd Round pick (#64) to the Panthers for defensive end Kony Ealy and a 3rd Round pick (#72). The trade is a no-brainer for New England as they only drop eight spots in the 2017 NFL Draft, while they add a defensive end that has shown flashes of dominance, specifically in Super Bowl 50 when he was dominant, that is also only 25 years old and playing for a contract. 

Ealy, who was a 2nd Round pick of the Panthers in 2014, has started 15 of 47 career games, and although he hasn't been a full time starter, he's made plays when he gets his chance. He's made 14 sacks in his three seasons, and he's also made 43 tackles and assisted on 37 more. He's also a ballhawk; he has one interception, five passes defended, six forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries. In the Panthers Super Bowl 50 loss to Denver, Ealy had an interception, forced fumble, and two sacks. He would have been the MVP if the Panthers didn't get smothered by Von Miller and the Broncos. 

Here are some Ealy highlights from his days at Missouri, courtesy of Harris Highlights on Youtube.com

Ealy will provide depth in an area of need for New England, and as most guys do in a contract year, he'll be playing as hard as he possibly can to earn himself that big payday. The Patriots have learned that acquiring players that are on one-year deals works out very well for them, and they expect that trend to continue with Ealy.

Statistics Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com/KonyEaly

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