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.
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.