TUESDAY, 3:30pm: The Panthers have made it official with Soliai, who has formally signed his contract, tweets David Newton of ESPN.com.
MONDAY, 7:15pm: The Panthers have agreed to sign defensive tackle Paul Soliai, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). It’s a two-year deal worth $7MM and includes $3MM guaranteed. The deal is slightly front-loaded with Soliai earning $4MM in year one of the pact.
The Falcons released Soliai on March 9th in a move that saved them significant money against their 2016 cap. Soliai was poised to earn a base salary of $4.5MM, accompanied by a cap figure of $6.9MM. From the Falcons’ perspective, that cap charge was likely excessive, as Soliai’s snap count in Dan Quinn‘s defense had dropped to 357 in 2015 (down from 502 in Mike Smith‘s unit in 2014). Add in the fact that Soliai wasn’t overly effective, grading as just the No. 57 interior defender last season per Pro Football Focus, and it probably made sense for Atlanta to cut bait.
For the Panthers, however, Soliai makes plenty of sense on an affordable two-year deal. Carolina recently released defensive tackle Dwan Edwards, so Soliai should help bolster the Panthers’ interior rotation. Capable of playing in either a 4-3 or 3-4 scheme, Soliai likely had appeal for multiple teams, but Carolina will be his landing spot.
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