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Report: DT Paul Soliai may refuse pay cut, could leave Atlanta

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Atlanta may be losing one of their two overpaid, underperforming defensive tackles.

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Only two years ago, Atlanta invested heavily in defensive tackles. They paid big money to Tyson Jackson and Paul Soliai, and invested a second round pick in Ra'Shede Hageman. However, the middle of the defense has struggled despite the additions.

The Falcons are looking at their roster and reportedly asking some of the overpaid veterans to take a pay cut. The 345-pound Soliai fits in that group, according to the typically inaccurate Jason Cole.

The report, which sounds to be from Soliai's agent, was confirmed by Vaughn McClure.

Soliai has been a decent defensive tackle, especially when compared to Jackson, but is far from the run plugger many expected when Atlanta handed him a $32 million deal.

Why would Atlanta ask Soliai to take a pay cut? Now 32, he has a base salary of $5 million, and a roster bonus of nearly $450,000. The contract looks even worse when you consider cutting him would leave $4.2 million in dead space on Atlanta's cap.

The best result for both parties would be restructuring. At Soliai's age and level of play, there is no way he comes close to earning more money from another team. Atlanta has been purging expensive veterans, and already has a decent amount of cap space dedicated to Sam Baker. Reworking Soliai's deal would give Atlanta a chance at finally jettisoning Jackson.