NFL Free Agency: What Does Sione Pouha's Deal Do for Dolphins' Paul Soliai?

Chris TrapassoAnalyst IMarch 12, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 24: Paul Soliai #96 of the Miami Dolphins prior to a game between the New England Patriots and the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on December 24, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
Winslow Townson/Getty Images

The New York Jets have agreed to a three-year contract with 33-year-old nose tackle Sione Pouha, leaving pending free agent Paul Soliai as the best interior defensive lineman on the market. 

The class of defensive tackles isn't especially deep with Aubrayo Franklin, Brodrick Bunkley and Shaun Rogers as the other "top" free agents at that position.

The Jets see Pouha as a team leader on defense and clearly wanted to keep him as the anchor on their defensive line. 

He's a great mentor for an emerging young player like Muhammad Wilkerson.

The Pouha signing was great news for Soliai, who's not expected back with the Miami Dolphins and will test the free-agent waters tomorrow.

At 6'4'' and 355 pounds, Soliai is an underrated yet solid nose tackle that would be an ideal acquisition for the middle of a 3-4 defense and would even be a great addition in a 4-3 alignment. 

Quality interior defensive linemen are not easy to come by, especially ones that can play with their nose on the football in the 3-4. 

The details on how much the Jets will pay Pouha have not been announced, but you'd have to expect Soliai to demand a much bigger contract. He's only 28 years old with plenty of gas in the tank. 

Expect teams that are interested in Memphis' Dontari Poe in the draft to take a long look at Soliai, who has a similar body type and run-plugging ability. 

With Soliai, a team knows exactly what they're getting. 

Poe comes with some risk. 

Soliai can use Pouha's deal for great leverage when free agency begins on Tuesday.