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.
#Falcons asked DT Paul Soliai to take a pay cut. He's unlikely to do it. Willing to take his chances on the open market.— Jason Cole (@JasonColeBR) February 19, 2016
The report, which sounds to be from Soliai's agent, was confirmed by Vaughn McClure.
Falcons have approached Paul Soliai's agent about restructuring third year (this year) of 5 year contract. Discussions ongoing— vaughn mcclure (@vxmcclure23) February 19, 2016
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.