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Carolina Panthers trade DE Kony Ealy to Patriots

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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