Panthers trade DE Kony Ealy and a third round pick to New England Patriots for their second round pick

The Carolina Panthers continued their frenzied pace on the first week of the 2017 NFL Free Agency by sending Defensive End Kony Ealy and the 72nd pick in the 2017 NFL Draft to the New England Patriots in exchange for the 64th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.

After an MVP worthy performance in Super Bowl 50, Kony Ealy struggled to return to that form. He was supplanted by Mario Addison by week 7 and registered 5 sacks and an interception and only 32 tackles the rest of the season. Not exactly what you’d expect from a second-round draft pick who was graded out by many scouts as a potential first round talent. Granted, Ealy has the talent and has had flashes in multiple games, he could never put an entire season together. He would disappear for long stretches and there were multiple games where he would get stood up by tight ends. Not a good look.

With Panther’s GM Dave Gettleman signing four DEs in free agency (Charles Johnson, Mario Addison, Wes Horton and Julius Peppers,) franchise tagging pass rushing DT Kawann Short, and having the upcoming draft being one of the deepest for pass rushers in years, it left Kony Ealy as the odd man out. This move not only lets Gettleman move back into the late second round for a potentially better player, it also yields at least some small return on a player that the team was ready to move on from.

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