Back in early March, the New England Patriots made a trade to fortify their edge rush rotation, sending a second-round pick to the Carolina Panthers in exchange for defensive end Kony Ealy and a third-rounder. A mere five months later, the Patriots might be ready to move on from Ealy altogether.
According to a report from NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the Pats have begun to gauge the trade market for Ealy.
One to watch in games tonight: Kony Ealy. #Patriots have gauged trade market for him, per sources. Started to settle in lately, though.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) August 25, 2017
New England already lost defensive end Rob Ninkovich to retirement and third-rounder Derek Rivers (who was drafted after trading down from the pick acquired in the Ealy deal) to injury.
The Patriots have plenty of defensive line depth for their multiple-front packages, but they don’t necessarily have many true edge guys around. Matt Patricia’s unit plays more of a read-and-react scheme up front anyway, so that type of player isn’t as much of a need for the Pats as it is for other teams, but it can never hurt to have more guys that can put pressure on the passer.
It’s difficult to see the Patriots getting much of a return for Ealy if they try to send him out again, but then again, all they had to sacrifice to acquire him in the first place was moving down eight spots from No. 64 to No. 72 in this year’s draft.