NFL

Paul Soliai Reportedly Agrees to Sign with Carolina Panthers

Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Paul Soliai (96) kneels on the field due to injury against the Carolina Panthers during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
John Bazemore/Associated Press
Daniel KramerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 21, 2016

Free-agent defensive tackle Paul Soliai was looking for a new home after the Atlanta Falcons let him go and decided to stay in the NFC South, after agreeing to sign a two-year deal worth $7 million, with $3 million in guaranteed money, with the Carolina Panthers on Monday, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com.

The Falcons cut Soliai after he did not want to take a pay cut from the $5 million he was due as part of a five-year, $33 million deal he signed two years ago. 

A 2007 fourth-round pick of the Miami Dolphins, Soliai joined Atlanta before the 2014 campaign and fit in nicely during his first season, recording 29 tackles, six stuffs and a sack. But that was in the 4-3 scheme under former head coach Mike Smith, who the team fired in January 2015 before bringing in defensive guru Dan Quinn and his 3-4 scheme.

The Falcons couldn't justify paying Soliai the hefty sum he was due, given his decreased production in 2015—just 22 tackles and a fumble recovery in 14 games—and his poor fit in the defense. 

Soliai isn't the youngest or most effective option on the defensive line, but he could be the right fit for the Panthers further down the depth chart.

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