Jets claim Kony Ealy off waivers after he was cut by the Patriots

Kony Ealy didn’t stay on the waiver wire long after being cut by the Patriots on Saturday. Ealy has been claimed by a division rival, the New York Jets, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Ealy was drafted in the second round of the 2014 NFL draft by the Panthers. In three seasons and 15 starts with Carolina, he recorded 14 sacks, one interception, and six forced fumbles.

Carolina traded Ealy and a third-round pick to the Patriots during the 2017 draft in exchange for New England’s second rounder. Ealy took some time to settle in with New England and adjust to the scheme, but head coach Bill Belichick said on 98.5 The Sports Hub before the Patriots’ Week 3 preseason game against the Lions that Ealy was on a “three-week upswing.”

Still, the team announced Saturday that Ealy would hit the waiver wire.

“I do think he was making progress and getting better and was really working hard,” Belichick said on Saturday, via Rich Hill of Pats Pulpit. “It’s just one of those things that didn’t work out or wasn’t going to work out. It’s nobody’s fault. He worked hard. We worked hard. There was a lot of effort put in, but in the end we didn’t feel like this was going to work out.”

Belichick said moving on from Ealy now gave him a better shot to land with a new team for the coming season, and Ealy got that.

“It gives him an opportunity about a week ahead of next week to hopefully create a better opportunity for himself,” Belichick said. “I think he deserved that. He did everything we asked him to do. It just didn’t work out for either one of us like we hoped it would.”

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The Jets are poised to struggle in 2017 after moving on from veterans Nick Mangold, Darrelle Revis, Brandon Marshall, David Harris and Eric Decker. Their quarterback situation leaves much to be desired, with Josh McCown, Bryce Petty, and Christian Hackenberg battling it out for the starting spot.

Ealy isn’t likely to make a huge difference for the win total of the Jets this season, but perhaps he can bring a spark to a team that needs all the help it can get.