New England Patriots rookie EDGE Derek Rivers could be done for the year with a torn ACL. Fellow rookie EDGE Deatrich Wise is battling a head injury. Veteran EDGE Rob Ninkovich retired. The team just signed undrafted EDGE Keionta Davis a couple weeks ago.
Needless to say, the positional group has not developed as the Patriots had hoped at the beginning of the season and head coach Bill Belichick and company are trying to push it one step further.
The team acquired EDGE Kony Ealy from the Carolina Panthers prior to the draft in exchange for dropping from the 64th overall pick to the 72nd. In the grand scheme of the draft, it cost the Patriots very little- the equivalent of a fifth round pick. But according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the Patriots are already looking to trade Ealy to another team.
One to watch in games tonight: Kony Ealy. #Patriots have gauged trade market for him, per sources. Started to settle in lately, though.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) August 25, 2017
Ealy will likely be featured against the Detroit Lions due to all of the Patriots injuries and he’ll be playing opposite of Trey Flowers. If he plays well enough, he’ll prove that the Patriots should keep him and if he plays poorly, then it’s hard to see another team interested in acquiring him for more than a sixth or seventh round pick.
The Patriots have been happy with the development of players like Geneo Grissom and Adam Butler- non-traditional edge defenders- and that could possibly make Ealy expendable. Additionally, Grissom and Butler offer far greater versatility than Ealy and that could be a deciding factor when picking players at the bottom of the roster.
If Ealy is traded, then the Patriots would either have to add a veteran pass rusher or move forward with Flowers, Wise, Grissom, and Butler, and ask hybrid linebackers like Dont’a Hightower, Shea McClellin, Kyle Van Noy, and Harvey Langi to shoulder the load.