Patriots Acquire Kony Ealy Via Trade With Panthers

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The New England Patriots have swung another deal to reshape their roster. The Missouri product made a name for himself in Super Bowl 50 when he sacked then Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning three times.

According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, New England has acquired defensive end Kony Ealy from the Carolina Panthers. He has the tools to be a big-time pass rusher at 6-foot-4 and 275 pounds, but it hasn't happened to this point. Moving down just eight spots in the draft for a player that has proven to be a good pass rusher in the National Football League will help New England. He recorded four sacks as a rookie and has recorded five sacks in each of the past two seasons.

The Panthers still have a third-round selection, acquiring a compensatory pick for losing cornerback Josh Norman in free agency a year ago.

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The Panthers choose Ealy with a second-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, but he hasn't been the productive player they hoped he would be. It isn't much of a change in position, going from the 72nd-overall pick to the 64th. In three seasons Ealy has earned 14 sacks, including back to back years totaling five. The trade gives the Patriots some more depth at defensive end, while it only cost them eight spots in the draft.

Last year, he played all 16 games, making six starts.

The team's other reserve, Jabaal Sheard, is an unrestricted free agent who appears interested in a fresh start elsewhere (he visited Miami and is scheduled to meet Indianapolis).

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