Patriots Reportedly Gauging Interest in Kony Ealy Trade

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistAugust 25, 2017

This is a 2017 photo of Kony Ealy of the New England Patriots NFL football team. This image reflects the New England Patriots active roster as of Tuesday, June 6, 2017 when this image was taken. (AP Photo)
Uncredited/Associated Press

NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported Friday that the New England Patriots have gauged trade interest in defensive end Kony Ealy.

The Pats acquired Ealy and a 2017 third-round pick from the Carolina Panthers in March for a 2017 second-round pick.

While Ealy has played extensively in the Pats' first two preseason games, he hasn't made much of a statistical impact.

The 25-year-old was a second-round pick by the Panthers out of Missouri in 2014, and he has shown some flashes of developing into a high-caliber pass-rusher.

Ealy has 14.0 sacks in 47 career regular-season games, including 5.0 sacks last season. He also registered 3.0 sacks during Carolina's run to the Super Bowl during the 2015 campaign.

Acquiring Ealy was a seemingly important move for the Patriots since their pass-rushing situation has undergone a great deal of turnover since last season.

Jabaal Sheard, Chris Long and Rob Ninkovich—who ranked second, third and fourth on the team in sacks, respectively, last season—are all no longer with the team.

Also, rookie third-round pick Derek Rivers suffered a season-ending knee injury.

Ealy was expected to team with returning sack leader Trey Flowers and give the Patriots a promising pass-rushing duo off the edge.

If New England does decide to trade Ealy, it will result in an unproven commodity such as Geneo Grissom or rookie fourth-round pick Deatrich Wise Jr. being forced to step into a prominent role.