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Carolina Panthers trade DE Kony Ealy to Patriots

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The Patriots have no overt plans to trade Jimmy Garoppolo, but that won't stop New England from making moves.

The Panthers announced Friday that the Patriots have shipped their second-round pick south in exchange for pass-rusher Kony Ealy and Carolina's third-round selection.

It's a move that adds depth and youth to New England's defensive line at a manageable price.

The 25-year-old Ealy is coming off an up-and-down season that saw him log five starts over 16 appearances with five sacks along the way. Looming this week as a possible cut for the Panthers, the Super Bowl 50 standout gives New England a body on the edge to pair with Trey Flowers. The Patriots also have Shea McClellin and Rob Ninkovich to chase down quarterbacks in New England's multiple-front defense.

It's a low-cost move for coach Bill Belichick, who slipped down just eight spots in the draft from No. 64 to No. 72 to grab a player entering his prime.

Ealy's absence, meanwhile, won't sink the Panthers. Carolina boasts a deep front seven with Mario Addison, Charles Johnson and Wes Horton at the end position. The team also brought back 37-year-old Julius Peppers, their first-round draft pick from 2002.

Ultimately, it's another case of New England using the offseason months -- really, every month -- to churn the roster, swing deals and add players who Belichick sees as a proper fit for his championship roster.

Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman is also one of the best around, shipping away a player he didn't need for better draft position. Still, Ealy's career will be monitored closely by the Carolina faithful.

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