MIAMI - AUGUST 14: Defensive tackle Paul Soliai #96 of the Miami Dolphins stops running back Derrick Ward #28 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a loss in an opening week pre-season game August 14 2010 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Sometimes there are free agents out there who seem to make a ton of sense for a particular team -- like putting a free agent nose tackle on the Kansas City Chiefs. That's the case with Paul Soliai, who is currently with the Miami Dolphins but scheduled to hit free agency on March 13.
The Chiefs situation at nose tackle is at best in a transitional mode right now. Kelly Gregg doesn't have a contract and doesn't seem likely to return (he plans to retire). Jerrell Powe and Anthony Toribio are both young and unknown. Absent a draft pick, the Chiefs probably need a veteran to step in.
Soliai received the franchise tag last year from the Dolphins which is a good sign of the type of player he is. They were willing to play him $12+ million just to keep him one season. He was originally the Dolphins fourth round pick in the 2007 NFL draft. He's 28 years old and stands an incredible 6'4" and 355 pounds.
What I like about Soliai is that he's played well at every level. He was a JUCO All-American (in Kansas, as a matter of fact) before transferring to Utah, where he was all-conference. And then in the NFL he made the Pro Bowl last season, his fifth season in the league. At 28 years old, it's reasonable to assume he will continue playing at a similar level for the next couple years.
The Chiefs, based on the past three years, don't seem likely to pursue Soliai early in free agency when the big money is flying around. I can't think of one player they've signed in free agency that had the market value of Soliai so, honestly, it's hard for me to predict how they would handle him. Are they interested? Only at a price? Willing to spend whatever? I can't say that I really know other than the Chiefs seem to be talking about being active in free agency more this year than in previous years.
Note: Looks like Soliai is today's featured player at KCChiefs.com. Those are really good posts.