Kony Ealy
Kony Ealy has been traded to the Patriots. (Bob Donnan/USA Today Images)

The Carolina Panthers have traded defensive end Kony Ealy and a 3rd round pick (72nd overall) to the New England Patriots for a 2nd round pick (64th overall). Adam Schefter of ESPN broke the story.

The New England Patriots pulled off the impossible again. They stole a bright young player for virtually nothing. Ealy, 25, has recorded 5 sacks the past two seasons along with 5 forced fumbles in that span. The former 2nd round pick from Missouri back in 2014 has the potential to become an elite pass rusher. This move likely signals the end for Jabaal Sheard who is an impending free agent and is unlikely to return to the Patriots.

For Carolina, they had a surplus of pass rushers following the return of Julius Peppers. Considering they only moved up a few slots in the draft, this trade could be critiqued if Ealy reaches his potential. Charles Johnson, Mario Addison, and Wes Horton are also in-house.