New England Patriots Acquire Defensive End Kony Ealy from Panthers

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, New England has acquired defensive end Kony Ealy from the Carolina Panthers.

Ealy was a 2 round draft pick (60 overall) for the Panthers during the 2014 NFL Draft.

It's a stunning fall from grace for a player who might have been the MVP of Super Bowl 50 had the Panthers beaten the Denver Broncos. He recorded four sacks as a rookie and has recorded five sacks in each of the past two seasons. He's just 25 years old and has done a good job of stopping the run.

The 6-foot-4, 274-pound Ealy has played in the National Football League for three years, all with Carolina. His age has to be intriguing from that perspective. Trey Flowers was dominant at times in his second season and is shaping up to be their featured pass rusher in 2017, but the Patriots also like to kick him inside in sub packages.

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With Chris Long leaving and Jabaal Sheard seemingly on his way out as well, the Patriots were in need of a defensive end/outside linebacker type.

Starter Rob Ninkovich enters the final year of his contract in 2017, and having just turned 33 on February 1, he's obviously closer to the end of his career than the beginning. Rob Ninkovich, 33, is getting toward the end of his career, too.

The Patriots will have a year to see if Ealy is a player they want to commit to long term. They've already paid close attention to the group in the pre-draft preparation process. The team re-signed Mario Addison, Charles Johnson and Wes Horton at the position and added Julius Peppers in free agency, creating a logjam at the position.

  • Regina Walsh