11 March, 2017
The Patriots made a trade with the Carolina Panthers on Friday afternoon acquiring DE Kony Ealy and the Panthers' 3 round draft pick in exchange for the Patriots 2 rounder. However, Ealy racked up three sacks, a forced fumble, fumble recovery and interception against the Broncos in a dominant Super Bowl 50 performance.
Since being selected 60th overall in the 2014 draft, Ealy has racked up 14 sacks in three seasons.
A key consideration in the deal is that Ealy enters the final year of his contract, so this could be a one-and-done situation. Ealy played 37% of the snaps as a rookie and had played almost 60% of the Panthers snaps over the past two season. But the light hasn't really come on for him. With Long leaving New England, they had a need to replace him. He's just 25 years old and has done a good job of stopping the run.More news: Secondary Screening: Invasive TSA pat-down tactics called into question
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.
Another oddly balanced move here, but given how edge rushers are getting overvalued in free agency right now, you have to think this may have been the most efficient way for New England to get a pass-rusher.
But this one particular trade should be considered a pretty big surprise. Carolina still has a comp pick (No. 98) at the end of the third round.