Keeping Will Gholston?

January 21st, 2017
Targeted by Bucs?


The Bucs look to be players when the free agency dinner bell rings March 9.

But what about their own free agents? It seems that might be priority No. 1 for Bucs AC/DC-loving general manager Jason Licht, so he told Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times.

Their focus will be retaining many of their free agents, Licht said. Though he declined to comment on specific players, the list clearly begins with defensive end Will Gholston, the Bucs’ best run stopper, and would also include receiver Russell Shepard, cornerback Josh Robinson and defensive end Jacquies Smith, who suffered a torn ACL in the season opener.

“We have a track record of rewarding our players that produce, keeping key players that thrive in the system, and we have the salary cap flexibility to make it happen,” Licht said.

Well, Josh Robinson would be a nice keep and he won’t break the bank. He’s a valuable special teams guy. Jacquies Smith, well, he should come cheap. He’s coming off knee surgery and frankly, given his recent inability to stay healthy, he cannot be relied upon.

Bradley McDougald is an underrated safety, again, not expensive. But if the Bucs can land Arizona Pro Bowl DT/DE Calais Campbell, then Gholston should be offered a take-it-or-leave-it contract.

Gholston is nice but he’s not Campbell, who is an impact player. Gholston is a part-time cog and not on the level of Campbell.

(Note: Stroud’s story needs a correction, Stroud claims Licht’s words were his first public commentary since the season ended. Actually, Licht’s first postseason words were to columnist Ira Kaufman. You can read them here.)

45 Responses to “Keeping Will Gholston?”

  1. Kevin Says:

    I expect gholdston to make a leap this season under his second season with hayes and extra motivation after the teams first winning season in forever. I would try and retain him hes young and has not hit his ceiling in ky opinion

  2. Defense Rules Says:

    @Joe … “But if the Bucs can land Arizona Pro Bowl DT/DE Calais Campbell, then Gholston should be offered a take-it-or-leave-it contract.” Pardon my French Joe, but that’s one of the most short-sighted statements I’ve ever read on JBF. Calais Campbell will be 31 when the season starts. Will Gholston will be 26 … a full 5 yrs younger. What happened to drafting smart, developing your own players & rewarding them when their 1st contract ends?

    The two aren’t as far apart as you seem to assume in your article, although I’ll be the first to admit that Campbell is somewhat better than Gholston at this time. BOTH have averaged 15 games/yr over the past 3 yrs. BOTH are great against the run (Calais has averaged 43 tackles & 16 assists for the past 3 yrs, while Will has averaged 37 tackles & 16 assists over those same 3 yrs). Campbell is the better sack-meister … averaged 7 sacks/yr over past 3 yrs while Gholston has averaged 3 sacks/yr in those same 3 yrs (Campbell has played on the better DLine however). Admittedly Calais has been selected to 2 Pro Bowls in the past 3 yrs (but none prior to that when he was still ‘growing’?).

    Sure do hope that Jason Licht doesn’t listen to you on this one Joe. Will Gholston is a warrior in his prime, and disrespecting him by offering him a ‘take-it-or-leave-it contract’ as you suggest would make Licht all-talk-and-no-action when it comes to rewarding our own IMHO.

    Joe has written previously, which you and others don’t want to get. Gholston is a part-time player who does not rush the passer well. “A” versus the run, “D” versus the pass. That’s why THE COACHES (not Joe) made him a part-time player. Bucs aren’t going to pay a part-timer stud starter money. It’s just not going to happen in Tampa. –Joe

  3. Buccaneer scotty Says:

    Joe you don’t know anything about what the bucs are going to do or not do and you can’t evaluate Talent at all !

  4. WhatdaBUCisthis Says:

    Yea if he’s looking to cash out, he can ride out. Yes you reward your players first. At the same time though you don’t give a part-time employee full-time benefits. I wouldn’t mind resigning but at the right price

  5. NJBucsFan Says:

    Scotty’s comment is dead on

  6. BigPoppaBuc Says:

    Gholston seems like a smart guy. He probably knows his worth and I don’t see the market bring too lucrative for him. He simply doesn’t have enough sacks to justify big money. He’ll be a Buc for the next few years. He may depart after we win a super bowl and capitalize on that “ring contract”.

  7. Defense Rules Says:

    @Joe … “Gholston is a part-time player.” Apparently we’re using much different definitions of ‘part-time player’ Joe. Will Gholston made MORE tackles than any other DLineman, by quite a bit. Pretty good for a part-time player. Granted his 3.5 sacks were only 5th on the team, but then again, he was used quite a bit inside because of his size & I wouldn’t expect a huge number of sacks from a 280 LB DT going up against 320+ OLinemen). I don’t know how many snaps he got in comparison to GMC, McDonald, Ayers or Spence, but he did get a LOT in the 14 games he played in 2016, the 16 games he played in 2015 and the 15 games he played in 2014. And 15 games a year for a DT or DE ain’t that shabby.

  8. Blake_bucsfan Says:

    Dang Scott, wake up on the wrong side of the bed brother?

  9. USFBUC Says:

    Wow some shots fired first thing in the morning.

    I think we should retain Gholston at a reasonable price. We should still be looking for that guy on the DLine that other teams have to gameplan for though.

  10. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Gholston has had time to prove he is not a bust. He’s too inconsistent.

    And the whole ‘part time player’ thing?

    If a player was truly good and truly hungry, he would do his best to make himself too valuable to take off the field. So he either does not have the hunger to succeed, or he does not have the ability to succeed.

    This team needs players that are starving to succeed, not players who play just good enough to keep a job.

    If Gholston goes elsewhere and succeeds, it is because being let go opened his eyes, and there is no proof he would have done so here.

  11. martinii Says:

    I am Gholston fan because our whole defensive line except for GMC has been rotational. Injuries and suspensions have reduced most NFL DL’s to rotational. Players are constantly substituted based on formation, down, and distance. We just need specialty players who fill a role when needed and Will Gholston is young, hardworking, and has payed his dues. Keep him, Pay him, bring in others to help him, but stop undermining his importance of a non-starter. We need at least 8 or 9 rotational specialist.

  12. LakeLandBuc Says:

    Will it be that difficult to replace Will Gholston 2-3 sacks?

  13. rayjay1122 Says:

    I would love to see Campbell in pewter and red. Him and a constantly improving Noah Spence could be very disruptive and though I do not love the soft attitude of GMC, he would be even better with a solid edge rush. You can’t double team every DL. Not even chip blocks from TE’s nor a blocking RB can stop 3 guys who can penetrate the pocket.

  14. LakeLandBuc Says:

    You’re 6’7 280 LBS, and all you can give us is 2-3 sacks a year.

  15. Nole on Sat- Bucc on Sun Says:

    Man what Bonzai said.

  16. Nole on Sat- Bucc on Sun Says:

    Also what rayjay said.

  17. Nole on Sat- Bucc on Sun Says:

    rayjay between JPP,Campbell,Poe or Berry who You taking??? You get one.

  18. rayjay1122 Says:

    Tough question Nole. I still would have to go with Campbell. I like Berry a lot too though.

  19. SOEbuc Says:

    Everyone shut up about the sack numbers. Yes it would be better if he had more but like someone said before he has the most tackles on the Dline. Sacks aren’t everything.

  20. mike Says:

    @joe, Can we resign our own guys before free agency starts or do we have to wait?

  21. NJBucFan Says:

    It’s sad when Calais Campbell….

    a guy that has never had double digit sacks, is now being considered as an option to add more pressure to our line.

    ….At 31 years old

    Campbell would not provide anything more than Ayers gave us this year.

    If we are going after a pass rusher, JPP is the only real option, albeit still not a great option, but then at least Spence and Ayers can split time at the other spot with Ayers kicking in when Spence comes in.

    Campbell just creates a logjam of more of the same, waste of money.

  22. Nole on Sat- Bucc on Sun Says:

    I feel you rayjay, I’m kinda leaning towards JPP myself. I was quite surprised at how effective he was at moving tackles out of his way enroute to QBs this season. I hope they at least bring him in for a visit.

  23. Knucknbuc Says:

    Joe still wants us to pick up johnny football. Stud qb lol. Joe also doesnt realize at gholstons age calais campbel was basically gholston. Your comparing a 30 year old guy to a guy that imo is just starting to get it. Its not like gholston had been the most refined prospect coming out trust me i know. Msu is my squad. Not smart to let your young ascending players go joe. And at worst what is gholston? A solid player? Yea lets just let him go. Hopefully the glazers aint listening to u.

  24. Deminion Says:

    Campbell is a game changer!!! U put him on the Dline watch out.

  25. Pickgrin Says:

    Pass on Campbell unless he wants to come here for a reasonable price. No paying 130% of his real value just because he is considered an “A” list free agent (in what will surely be a weak class of FAs)! Campbell made $11M last year. Spotrac rates his market value at $8.5M. If he will sign a 3 year deal in the $20M range to come to Tampa Bay – then do it. Otherwise – pass.

    Re-sign Gholston – again, as long as he is reasonable with his salary demands. IMO the offer should be about $3.9M per year. 4 years – $15.6M with roughly $6M guaranteed in the 1st 2 years.

    Draft a DE for the best value you can get somewhere in the 1st 3 rounds.

  26. Joe Says:

    Bucs can sign their own guys at any time.

    Percentage of snaps Gholston played during Bucs 5-game win streak, when defense was dominant.

    Bears – 48%
    Chiefs – 60%
    Seahawks – 33%
    Chargers – 53%
    Saints – 52%

  27. Stpetebucsfan Says:

    I do not love the soft attitude of GMC,

    Rayjay do you like 8.35 sacks average over the past four years from a position that is not a sack producing spot….the DE’s and LB’s are like the first twenty in sacks this year before you get to Geno Atkins.

    I definitely hear Pickgrin! We’ve seen this show before. In the land of the blind the one eyed man is king…in a year of weak FA’s..mediocre players can look huge…Ghost Johnson and Collins ring a bell. While we can rip Lovie or Licht or whoever made those decisions there wasn’t a ton of quality FA’s from which to select.

    We were desperate then…we are not now. We’re getting super close to BPA in the draft…the foundation is in place now we have to be very careful not to upset the chemistry.

  28. ME13 Says:

    I hope we sign Big Will & Jac Smith & Shep & Josh ( down them inside the 10) Robinson & Bradley Mc Back!! Then go get JPP an rob the saints of Nick Fairley & shoot for a star ( Eric Berry) an sign Cordale Patterson for our return man 4th WR!!! Then we can worry bout the Draft!! BPA OOOOLINE TE LB Then the 4th rd get mean Joe MixsonRB !!! Just know we are getting a fast physical WR no worries guys that’s going to happen!!! By means of 1 pick or 2 picks or FA!! There will be a real # 2 WR at one Buc place this year !!!

  29. Defense Rules Says:

    Joe, the Bucs’ defense was on the field in those 5 wins for 288 snaps. Gholston played 141 of those (49%). McDonald played 145 of those (50%). So I’m presuming that Clinton’s also a part-time player? You know as well as I do that DEs are situational players for the most part. On obvious passing downs I’d put Ayers and Noah Spence in there because of their skill sets. On running situations, probably Ayers & Gholston to get more beef in there. During that 5-game run, passing situations occurred considerably more frequently than run situations. And in fact Ayers & Noah Spence got more snaps (199 for Ayers & 204 for Noah) … just as should be expected.

  30. cmurda Says:

    I’m in agreement with Joe on this one. Gholston is nothing more than a part time rotational guy at this point. Sure, maybe he could develop into a force but I really thing what we see right now is what he’s got. He should be offered a contract that fits with a rotational lineman and nothing more.

    Josh Robinson is way more vital. That dude isn’t just good on special teams. He’s an absolute beast and is a large reason why we were incredibly solid on return coverage.

    McDougald is also very valuable. He has a little bit more to learn but the writing is on the way that he has the talent and ability to be a solid safety. We should be able to re-sign him at a reasonable salary and he’s worth it.

    It’s tough to judge Jack Smith. He showed promise before but unfortunately had his season cut short this past year.

    Im not on the Clinton McDonald bandwagon for anything more than a rotational guy. He’s part f the reason why people are even talking about the need for a DT.

  31. Cobraboy Says:

    YES to a big Campbell payday in Pewter.

    Let Gholston test the FA market to determine his worth, but meet and slightly exceed any legit reasonable offer.

  32. Joe Says:

    Joe you don’t know anything about what the bucs are going to do or not do and you can’t evaluate Talent at all !

    Guess Joe better shut the site down until September, eh?

    Let Joe know the next time you speak with Bucs coaches and suits (which Joe did this week).

  33. Joe Says:

    but that’s one of the most short-sighted statements I’ve ever read on JBF.

    The NFL is a short-sighted league. As Joe has written many times, the window for a Super Bowl run is now and may very well be closed by the time Gholston turns 30.

    Joe can promise you Dirk Koetter is not concerned with Gholston’s ability to play five years from now.

  34. Joe Says:

    It’s tough to judge Jack Smith.

    No it’s not. Dude is always hurt.

    Talented? Sure. But if talent cannot get on the field, what’s the point. Bucs should be able to get him cheap.

  35. Joe Says:

    @joe, Can we resign our own guys before free agency starts or do we have to wait?

    Yes, but unless a contract is over-the-top, most agents won’t do that and instead, seeing if there is a fish elsewhere in the NFL to help drive up the price.

  36. Joe Says:

    Im not on the Clinton McDonald bandwagon for anything more than a rotational guy. He’s part f the reason why people are even talking about the need for a DT.

    And McDonald has only one more year left on his contract. Time to start looking for a replacement. Joe likes McDonald a lot but he knows the NFL is a business.

    He, too, has been hurt a lot last couple of seasons.

  37. Defense Rules Says:

    OK Joe, I’ll play. There’s little question that Bucs’ DLine needs upgrading if we’re to get back into the Top 10 defensively. Top defensive teams look like they keep 10 DLinemen on average … optimally 4 DT, 4 DE and 2 swing DE/DT in my opinion. Right now Bucs have 2 starting-caliber DTs under contract: McCoy (29 this season) & McDonald (30). We’ve got 1 starting-caliber DE/DT under contract: Ayers (32 this season). (Note: seeing an age trend yet?). And we’ve got 1 starting-caliber DE under contract: Noah Spence (23). In addition we can re-sign DE/DT Will Gholston (26 this season) and DE Jack Smith (27), plus we’ve got several others under contract who can rotate in but aren’t starting caliber or even key rotational quality.

    So ASSUMING that we re-sign Will Gholston & Jack Smith we’ll still be ‘light’ in terms of starting-caliber DLinemen or ones who are key rotational players (we’d have 6 of the 10 needed). Signing 1 FA DT (like Kawann Short?) plus 1 FA DE/DT (like Calais Campbell?) PLUS drafting 1 DE in the Top 3 rnds would give us a beastly DLine. Then maybe players like GMC wouldn’t have to play 80% (plus) of the defensive snaps if we could set up a decent rotation to keep guys fresh.

  38. Nole on Sat- Bucc on Sun Says:

    Cmurda they better get Robinson back in the building. He’s a special teams demon.

  39. LakeLandBuc Says:

    I guess it will be another 10 years before we have another double-digit sack artist. After all ,sacks are not everything in Tampa. Just stick with the 3 sacks guys and be happy. SMH

  40. Destinjohnny Says:

    Give him 4.8 with a nice up front hit

  41. c-spann Says:

    i like hankins as a replacement for mcdonald. gholston is the best run defender on the line we should pay him but be smart about it

  42. LakeLandBuc Says:

    Will Gholston should be a DT instead of a edge rusher. He’s a good tackler, but he’s a poor sacker, coming off the edge.

  43. LakeLandBuc Says:

    He can easily be a 6’7 300 LB DT. We need our Edge Rushers to get pressure on the QB.

  44. ME13 Says:

    Big Will is tuff an can play any spot on the D-line!! He may not b a sack master but he never stops fighting!! It’s like Josh Robinson he may not b the best corner but he is a chopper on ST!! When you got guys that give there all an make a difference they should be resign!! I can keep naming the guys that will b truly missed Shep is at the top of the list with the first 2 guys I named!! Shep stepped up when Called upon as a WR !!! Them guys got heart an willing to do the dirty for the team an you don’t see them in the funny paper( Mug shots) they stand up guys that give there all!!! Go Bucs

  45. Bob in valrico Says:

    believe defense has said it before, we need a big run stopping DT.MCCoy
    and MacDonald could then be free to rotate and rush the passer.Still the shortest route to the QB and it makes it harder for shorter QB’s like Breeze
    to find passing lanes.DT penetration also pushes QB toward DE’s.Putting a
    280 lb DE in the interior of the line usually gives them a 20 -30 lb. handicap.
    Also disagree with the rush to sign overpriced free agents.Chucky for instance
    was like a kid in a candy store in free agency and he signed over the hill players like Charlie garner and Tim Brown.The Joes sometimes have this
    attitude with player like Roddy White for instance.
    AP wants a 5 year deal,would not bet big money on any running back having a 15 year career.Sorry, ST Pete it just seems like risky business.