Defensive tackle Dominique Easley has the unfortunate distinction of being one of the three worst draft picks for the New England Patriots in the Bill Belichick-era, joining wide receiver Chad Jackson and cornerback Ras-I Dowling (who was actually just waived by the Panthers).
But Easley's going to get another shot on a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Rams, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.
The Patriots took a major risk on Easley, who was regarded as a top 10 pick if not for his multiple ACL injuries in his knees, and it didn't pan out. Not because he couldn't perform on the field- Easley was the most productive pass rushing defensive tackle in the NFL last season- but because he wasn't fully honest about his injuries to the coaches and constantly went against the orders of the Patriots training staff. There were also multiple lower-degree off the field issues that didn't sit well with the team.
These sorts of issues led Belichick to cut ties with the 2014 1st round pick, but the talent is undeniable and a few other teams were interested.
The Cincinnati Bengals and the Los Angeles Rams worked out Easley, and both teams make a lot of sense. The Bengals use the 6'1, 290 lbs defensive tackle Geno Atkins with great effect, while Rams 6'1, 290 lbs defensive tackle Aaron Donald was arguably the best player in the NFL last season. The 6'1, 290 lbs Easley is a great project for either team.
2014 1st round pick Easley will join the Rams defensive line, alongside 2014 1st round pick Donald, 2013 1st round pick Michael Brockers, 2012 1st round pick Quinton Coples, and 2011 1st round pick Robert Quinn. He will also play alongside the likes of Eugene Sims and William Hayes (Coples is more of a journeyman bust, and I just included him for effect).
Per Miguel of PatsCap, the Patriots will not see any change in their 2016 salary cap because the offset language in the contract applies to the 2017 year. Offset language means that the Patriots will only be on the hook for the difference in what they promised Easley and what his new teams end up paying him, which helps reduce his impact on the Patriots cap.
Hopefully Easley can turn everything around because he was a fun talent to watch when he was on the field.