The Panthers are trading defensive end Kony Ealy and a third-round pick (No. 72) to the Patriots in exchange for New England’s second-round pick (No. 64), reports ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter).
Ealy had played his entire three-year career with the Panthers since being selected in the second-round of the 2014 draft. The 25-year-old has only missed one regular season game during his career, and he’s started a combined 15 games over the past two years. The defensive end has compiled exactly 32 tackles and five sacks in each of the past two seasons, and he’s added another five forced fumbles during that time.
The Patriots could certainly use some help at defensive end as they search for a player to play opposite Trey Flowers. Ealy would presumably slide into the starting lineup over Geneo Grissom, or Rob Ninkovich could theoretically return to the position. New England could also bring back free agent Jabaal Sheard, but those slim chances have seemingly declined following this trade.
On the flip side, the Panthers have plenty of depth at the position after re-signing Charles Johnson. Mario Addison figures to start alongside Johnson, with Wes Horton, Ryan Delaire, and Larry Webster serving as backups.
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