Patriots Acquire Kony Ealy Via Trade With Panthers

The New England Patriots have never been afraid to use the trade bock as a way to build their team.

They acquired defensive end Kony Ealy and a third-round pick from the Panthers in exchange for their second-round pick, according to ESPN. But an eight-spot slide in the draft and a base salary of $803,660 is a minimal cost to the Patriots, even if that turns out to be the case.

At 25, though, Ealy is a player riddled with upside who has only started 15 games over the first three years of his career.

Ealy was a second-round pick out of Missouri in 2014 and hasn't put it all together yet for a full season.

New England drops from the 64th to 72nd overall selection in the draft with the deal. Carolina still has a comp pick (No. 98) at the end of the third round.

The move may be a one-year rental, however, as Ealy is entering the final year of his contract and can become an unrestricted free agent after the 2017 season. However, Ealy racked up three sacks, a forced fumble, fumble recovery and interception against the Broncos in a dominant Super Bowl 50 performance.

Ealy, appeared in 16 games last season but garnered only five starts, eventually losing his starting job to defensive end Wes Horton. He recorded 32 total tackles, including five sacks, with two forced fumbles and an interception. The Patriots also lost Jabaal Sheard, who is signing with the Indianapolis Colts, sources told ESPN.

  • Joe Gonzales