Discussions are ongoing and a final decision has not been made regarding what type of pay cut Soliai might have to take or whether he’ll accept the pay cut. Canter is scheduled to speak with the Falcons again Friday night.
Soliai originally signed a five-year, $32 million contract in March of 2014. He received $14 million guaranteed, $7 million in a signing bonus. For 2016, he is due a base salary of $5 million with a $500,000 roster bonus maximum per game active. Soliai’s cap number would be $6,837,500, the third-highest on the team behind quarterback Matt Ryan ($23,750,000) and wide receiver Julio Jones (15,900,000).
According to overthecap.com, the most the Falcons could save against the cap by restructuring Soliai’s contract would be $3,076,667.
The 32-year-old Soliai was signed to be a run-stuffer and to take on double-teams to allow linebackers to make plays in the Falcons’ previous defensive scheme. His value decreased under new head coach Dan Quinn, who implemented more of an attacking, 4-3-under defense that relies on versatile defensive linemen capable of pressuring the passer as well. Soliai played 348 snaps and finished with 22 tackles, three tackles for losses, and five quarterbacks hits.
Soliai expressed a desire to return next season but realized it was out of his control.
"I don't know, we'll see, but all I'm going to do is just try to get back, get my calf right, and see whatever happens," Soliai said. "I want to be here no matter what, but whatever happens, happens. It's a business. I do love this organization, especially this year with how tight knit the defensive line and the whole defense got together. There's a great chemistry. So hopefully, I'll still be here."
Soliai was one of three free agents the Falcons committed high salaries to in 2014. They also signed defensive end Tyson Jackson to five-year, $25 million contract that included $11 million guaranteed along with offensive guard Jon Asamoah to a five-year, $22.5 million contract that included $8 million guaranteed. Asamoah reached an injury settlement and is no longer with the team, while Jackson’s status with the team remains unclear with him set to count $6.35 million against the cap in 2016.
If the Falcons decide to release Soliai, there would be a cap savings of $2,637,500.