The Atlanta Falcons continue to pursue linemen on both sides of the ball as the 2014 NFL free agency period gets into full swing.
The latest addition: former Miami Dolphins nose tackle Paul Soliai, who officially signed a multi-year deal with the team on Tuesday.
Falcons agree to terms with DT Paul Soliai and G Jon Asamoah, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 11, 2014
Jason La Canfora reports the Falcons will pay Soliai $33 million over five years, including $14.5 million dollars in guaranteed money. That's not pocket change.
Paul Soliai gets $33M over 5 years, including $11M total in 2014 and $14.5M guaranteed from the Falcons.— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 11, 2014
Soliai comes off one of his better campaigns as a pro (+11.1 overall, according to Pro Football Focus), recording 35 tackles, two sacks and five pass deflections. And at 6-foot-4, 340-pounds, he gives the Falcons defense a legitimate one or zero-gap nose tackle that can take on the double team, giving further credence to the speculation that Atlanta will primarily operate out of a true 3-4 base defense in 2014.
Naturally, Soliai's forte is his ability to stop the run (+7.9), and his size is essential in anchoring a 3-man front. New defensive line coach Bryan Cox, who spent a season in Miami, will also be quite familiar with what he can do on the football field.
The only concern here will be the financial terms of the contract. With the team already agreeing on a 3-year extension for Jonathan Babineaux on Tuesday and Soliai's tendency to only play about 50 percent of the snaps in any given game with the Dolphins, the Falcons may have a decent amount of money locked up in the defensive tackle position. But then again, it is certainly an area of need for Atlanta.
The team may not be done with defensive linemen in free agency, either. Stay tuned for more updates as the UFA period rolls on, as the team has been linked strongly to Tyson Jackson.
What do you think of the Soliai signing?