The Atlanta Falcons are expected to release nose tackle Paul Soliai at the beginning of the new league year, NFL Network's Ian Rappaport reported late Saturday night.
#Falcons DL Paul Soliai won't be taking a pay cut from his $5M salary, source said. He'll be a free agent at the start of the league year— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 21, 2016
Following the departure of head coach Mike Smith, Soliai's role diminished significantly within Dan Quinn's 4-3 defense. Due a base salary of $5 million in 2016, Soliai will become a free agent shortly after the league year begins on March 9th. Though the move was only announced a short time ago, Dolphin fans are already considering the possibility of Soliai returning to South Beach.
Soliai was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the fourth round (108th overall) of the 2007 NFL Draft. The nine-year veteran started 10 games for the Falcons, recording 22 tackles in 2015. Throughout the course of his career, Soliai primarily played nose tackle, combining for 211 tackles and 5.5 sacks; he would immediately help a Dolphins' defense that ranked 28th against the run in 2015. Even with the addition of Ndamukong Suh, Miami's defense allowed 126.2 yards per game, an average of 5.1 yards more than 2014.
Miami had a strong interest in re-signing Soliai prior to his departure for Atlanta. After contract talks broke down with the Dolphins, he signed a five-year, $32 million deal with the Falcons. If the Dolphins plan on adding Soliai this offseason, the most likely cap casualty would be defensive tackle, Earl Mitchell. Mitchell is set to make $3.975 million in 2016, a steep price for a player who has been underwhelming since arriving in South Florida. Pairing Soliai alongside Suh would immediately improve the Dolphins run defense.
Armando Salguero also believes the Dolphins and Soliai will have mutual interest.
Paul Soliai will be cut but the Atlanta Falcons. And he still would like to return to the Miami Dolphins.— Armando Salguero (@ArmandoSalguero) February 21, 2016
What do you think the Dolphins should do?