The Kony Ealy experiment has failed.
The New England Patriots have decided to release Ealy just months after they acquired the 25-year-old defensive end, a source told NFL Media’s Mike Garafolo on Saturday.
Ealy’s release is mildly surprising given the Patriots’ lack of depth on the edge, but he simply was not a fit in New England.
After a rocky start to training camp that included a mysterious missed practice, Ealy played into the fourth quarter in the Patriots’ second and third preseason games — a bad sign for a veteran who was expected to play a significant role this season.
Ealy did not see the field in the first half of Friday night’s game against the Detroit Lions. He generated consistent pressure during his first series after halftime but quickly faded, his effectiveness plummeting as the game wore on.
In an interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub before the Lions game, Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Ealy was “definitely on the upswing.”
The Patriots picked up Ealy for next to nothing this spring, moving down eight spots in the 2017 NFL Draft to acquire him from the Carolina Panthers.
One player who could benefit from Ealy’s release is undrafted rookie defensive end Adam Butler, who has impressed during his first NFL preseason. Butler was especially productive Friday night against the Lions.
UPDATE (3:35 p.m. ET): The Patriots officially announced Ealy’s release.
Thumbnail photo via Doug Kyed/NESN.com