Easley was projected to be the team's top interior sub rusher in 2016. That has primarily been his role in his first two seasons, both of which concluded with him on season-ending injured reserve.
Easley entered the NFL with health questions, as he tore both ACLs in college at Florida.
He played 24.6 percent of the defensive snaps as a rookie and 25.1 percent last year. He totaled 25 tackles and three sacks over those two seasons.
The move is unexpected, in part because the Patriots could wind up assuming a larger salary-cap charge ($3.6 million) than they would have if they had kept him on the roster ($1.9 million). That would change if another team claims Easley on waivers.
On Thursday, Easley posted a goodbye message to Patriots fans on Instagram.