The Patriots have traded for Panthers defensive end Kony Ealy, CSNNE's Tom E. Curran has confirmed. The trade was first reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter.
The swap is an interesting one, as the Patriots will send their second-round pick (No. 64 overall) to Carolina for Ealy and the Panthers’ third-round pick, which is No. 72 overall. That means the Patriots are barely moving down in the draft and picking up Ealy, the 60th pick in the 2014 draft, in the process.
A 6-foot-4, 275 defensive end out of Missouri, Ealy has played in all 16 games of each of the last two seasons after missing one game as a rookie in 2014. He had four sacks as a rookie and had five in both 2015 and 2016.
Ealy took the spotlight in Super Bowl 50, absolutely terrorizing Peyton Manning. He sacked Manning three times, intercepted him and forced him to fumble on a fourth-quarter strip sack.
Ahead of Super Bowl LI, Ealy picked the Patriots to beat the Falcons, saying you can't doubt Tom Brady in a big game.
The addition of Ealy helps the Patriots reload at a position that will lose at least Chris Long in free agency. Long announced ahead of free agency that he would not return to New England, while Jabaal Sheard is also a free agent.
As Phil Perry notes, Ealy was selected just before a certain high-profile Patriot, one who's been the subject of plenty of trade rumors.
Pats paying the difference between a 2nd-rounder and a 3rd-rounder to get the 6-4, 275-pound Ealy. Taken two picks before Garoppolo in '14.— Phil Perry (@PhilAPerry) March 10, 2017