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Panthers trading Kony Ealy to the Patriots

Panthers trading Kony Ealy to the Patriots

Patriots acquired DE Kony Ealy and a third-round pick from the Panthers in exchange for a second-round selection.

Ealy is best known for his performance against the Broncos in Super Bowl 50, when he recorded three sacks, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and an interception in a losing effort for Carolina.

Ealy, 25, was a second-round pick by the Panthers in 2014 and has 14 career sacks in three seasons. Ealy played 37% of the snaps as a rookie and had played almost 60% of the Panthers snaps over the past two season.

In New England, Ealy will be on the final year of his rookie contract and set to become a free agent in 2018.

More news: Wenger makes insane decision to drop Alexis as Arsenal are humiliated again

He didn't make the big leap forward in 2016 that was envisioned, however, and logged just 32 tackles, 5 sacks and an interception in 2016. Since that time, one of the knocks on him has been inconsistency.

And even if Ealy is nothing more than the 4th pass rusher in the rotation, he only cost the Patriots 8 draft places in an extremely deep draft. The Patriots will ask him to do that and rush the passer, something he excelled at while in Missouri.

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.

The value of the trade is a good one for New England. Carolina still has a comp pick (No. 98) at the end of the third round.

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