When news came out over the weekend that the Atlanta Falcons are poised to release defensive tackle Paul Soliai, Miami Dolphins Twitter picked right up on it, with many fans in favor of bringing the former Dolphin back into the fold.
Soliai, 33, is due to count $5 million against the Falcons salary cap this year. He played in a 4-3 defensive scheme with both Miami and Atlanta, but new head coach Dan Quinn uses a one-gap scheme, and Soliai saw his role significantly reduced last season after former head coach Mike Smith and defensive coordinator Mike Nolan departed. Soliai would appear to be a better fit in Miami’s scheme, led by newly-hired defensive coordinator Vance Joseph.
Although he could be cut anytime after the league year begins on March 9, the Falcons would create more salary cap room by designating Soliai as a post-June 1 cut, so it remains to be seen when he actually becomes available in the free agent market.
A former Utah Ute, Soliai was drafted by Miami in the fourth round of the 2007 NFL draft. He developed into a stalwart on the Dolphins defensive line, and was named to the Pro Bowl in 2011. He would add an immediate boost to a Dolphins defense that allowed 126.2 rushing yards per game and ranked 28th in the NFL.
The Dolphins wanted to re-sign Soliai in 2014 when his contract expired, but weren’t willing to match the 5-year, $32 million contract he was offered from Atlanta.
Miami replaced Soliai with Earl Mitchell, who has been underwhelming in his time with the Dolphins. And according to the Miami Herald’s Armando Salguero, Soliai has expressed interest in returning to his former team.
And Dolphins fans would roll out the welcome mat for Big Paul!
This story was written by Eldon Jenson. Follow him on Twitter @EJFootball