Panthers trade Kony Ealy to Patriots, reports say

Now he's reportedly being shipped out of town in a deal that will send Ealy and a third-round pick to the Patriots for a second-round pick, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.

So Bill Belichick moves back eight spots in the upcoming draft to trade for a young, fairly productive pass rusher who will cost him close to nothing and brings no long-term baggage contractually or off the field.

Carolina drafted Ealy in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft out of Missouri to be a star pass rusher. However, Ealy racked up three sacks, a forced fumble, fumble recovery and interception against the Broncos in a dominant Super Bowl 50 performance.

Ealy, who is listed at 6-foot-4, 273 pounds, is entering the final year of his contract. He has missed just one game in his career.




The second-round pick from the Patriots to the Panthers is No. 64 overall. Carolina still has a comp pick (No. 98) at the end of the third round.

Defensive end Chris Long announced earlier he would not be returning to the Patriots, and Jabaal Sheard is a free agent.

Ealy had 30 tackles and five sacks this past season and totaled 73 tackles in his three years.

That leaves impressive third-year player Trey Flowers (team high seven sacks in 2016) as the only defensive end who projected as a big part of both the short- and long-term picture in New England (2015 third-round pick Geneo Grissom is viewed as more of a special-teamer at this point).

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