Panthers trade Kony Ealy to Patriots

They are working on a trade with the New England Patriots that will send defensive end Kony Ealy and a third-round selection in exchange for a second-round pick.

In essence, the Patriots dropped eight spots in the 2017 draft in order to obtain the No. 60 overall pick of the 2014 draft.

The deal for Ealy cost the Patriots their second round pick, however, they also acquired the Panthers' third round pick with Ealy in the deal. His most memorable performance was in Super Bowl 50, when he had three sacks, an interception and a forced fumble in a losing effort against the Broncos. He's just 25 years old and has done a good job of stopping the run. He recorded four sacks as a rookie and has recorded five sacks in each of the past two seasons.

Ealy, who is listed at 6-foot-4, 273 pounds, is entering the final year of his contract. His age has to be intriguing from that perspective.

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. The Patriots will ask him to do that and rush the passer, something he excelled at while in Missouri. Rob Ninkovich, 33, is getting toward the end of his career, too. The Patriots still have work to do on the defensive line. If he doesn't pan out, they didn't give up much in the process.

As for Ealy, Bill Belichick and Matt Patricia will attempt to find what the Panthers couldn't.

The Panthers have loaded on experienced edge rushers, re-signing Mario Addison, Wes Horton and Charles Johnson and agreeing to terms with future Hall of Famer Julius Peppers.

  • Carolyn Briggs