The Falcons have placed a starting defensive lineman on the injured reserve list, announcing today that they’ve moved nose tackle Paul Soliai to IR and promoted tight end D.J. Tialavea from their practice squad (Twitter link).
Soliai, who is in the second season of a five-year, $32MM contract with the Falcons, played in 14 games this year for the team, starting 10. His numbers, including 22 tackles and a fumble recovery, were modest, and Pro Football Focus viewed him as a middle-of-the-pack interior defender, ranking him 55th out of 127 qualified players.
Beginning in 2016, Soliai’s cap hit increases significantly – from $4.4MM to $6.9MM – and his salary is no longer guaranteed, so it’ll be interesting to see if Atlanta addresses his contract at all. A $7MM signing bonus ensures that he still has plenty of dead money left on his deal, so the Falcons wouldn’t create a ton of cap savings in 2016 by trading or releasing him, unless they designated him as a post-June 1 cut.