Kony Ealy
Did the Panthers make out like bandits by dealing Kony Ealy? (Bob Donnan/USA Today Images)

The Carolina Panthers gave up a premium pass rusher Kony Ealy for pennies on the dollar. The Panthers moved up in the 2017 NFL Draft by giving up the 72nd overall pick and Ealy in exchange for the 64th overall pick. Trading with Bill Belichick has been known as a bad omen for most teams but Panthers G.M. Dave Gettleman feels confident in his trade.

“It’s a heavy draft and it was an opportunity for us to move up,” Gettleman said, via the Charlotte Observer. “To you guys, eight spots doesn’t seem like much. But to me it’s gold. … We just wanted to move up and get another second-round pick. I think it gives us more flexibility.”

Gettleman is right in one aspect, it is a very deep draft. That, however, doesn’t explain why he gave up Kony Ealy to move up just 8 spots in what is a deep draft. Ealy has shown up in big moments including a 3 sack and 1 interception performance in Super Bowl 50 against the Broncos. With the return of Julius Peppers back to Carolina, it was inevitable that the Panthers were likely going to move a pass rusher.

Ealy’s addition will be an important one after New England lost Jabaal Sheard this offseason. Despite winning the Super Bowl, their pass rush has not been the same since they dealt Chandler Jones.