The Falcons have approached defensive tackle Paul Soliai and his agent about the possibility of a pay cut, according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report (via Twitter). While no decisions have been made yet, Cole says Soliai is unlikely to assent, preferring to take his chances on the open market.
Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com (Twitter links) confirms that discussions are ongoing between the Falcons and Soliai’s camp, and that there’s no resolution yet, though he classifies the team’s request as a restructure, rather than a pay cut.
Still, if the Falcons want to do a simple restructure of the contract, converting a portion of Soliai’s salary into a signing bonus to reduce his cap hit, there’s little reason for the player to oppose it, so I imagine a pay reduction of some sort is part of the proposal — perhaps the team would give Soliai the opportunity to earn back his full salary through bonuses and/or incentives.
Soliai, 32, has spent the last two years with the Falcons after playing seven seasons for the Dolphins. Although Soliai’s numbers in 2015 (22 tackles, one fumble recovery) were modest, he was still one of the more reliable cogs in Atlanta’s interior defensive line rotation, so it makes sense that the team would want to retain him, albeit not at his current price.
Soliai’s contract, which runs through 2018, calls for a cap charge of about $6.838MM in 2016, which includes a $5MM base salary. Those cap numbers will increase to $6.9MM and $8.4MM in the final two years of the deal, so it seems unlikely he’ll be a Falcon for much longer unless he and the club can reach some sort of agreement.
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