Gerald McCoy: “The Reason I Would Bring Will Gholston Back”

February 1st, 2017

Decision time for Will Gholston

So what would happen if five-time Pro Bowler Gerald McCoy was called to the principal’s office, aka general manager Jason Licht, and was asked to explain why the Bucs should pay Will Gholston so he doesn’t escape to free agency?

Joe sat down with McCoy and asked him just that in the bowels of Camping World Stadium after McCoy had a busy night in the Pro Bowl.

McCoy spoke easily when it came to his 6-6, 280-pound manbeast of a 25-year-old teammate.

“The reason I would bring Will Gholston back is, No. 1, his work ethic is second to none,” McCoy said. “His drive is second to none. He pushes not just himself but everybody to the limit. He definitely pushes his body to the limit. I honestly think he is one of the top three 6-techniques, you know, first- and second-down defensive ends, we have in this league. And he has added in some pass rush. He stays healthy. Sure, every now and then he gets hurt, but even when he gets hurt he finds a way to push through. Reliable. Always on his keys. And just a great guy in the locker room. So that’s my sales pitch for Will Gholston.”

Joe has written since midway through the 2015 season that Gholston is virtually unblockable by tight ends in the running game, and that he might be the best run-stuffing defensive end in the football.

Give Gholston an “A+” against the run and a “D” as a pass rusher, which is why Mike Smith made him a part-time player.

Now Licht must decide what that’s really worth in the NFL. And Gholston has to decide if he wants to test the market. Joe would love to have Gholston back, but not at a such a price tag that the organization feels obligated to make him a full-time player to justify the salary.

That’s never a good thing.

Tough call for Mr. Licht. Gholston would be great to have back, but if another team sees him as an $8 million per year player, Joe could easily see the Bucs moving on. And Joe wouldn’t wag a finger of blame.

39 Responses to “Gerald McCoy: “The Reason I Would Bring Will Gholston Back””

  1. Nick2 Says:

    I like Gholston he makes our D Line tougher and I think everyone knows we need that up front. Unless we are trotting out first round pics across the D line I say keep him. The guy has heart.

  2. big serious Says:

    he will be retained im sure. I hope we have learned about letting guys like this walk

  3. Buc1987 Says:

    I have to do it. I’m compelled.

    Tmaxcon would say. Keep Will let GMC go.

    I’m sorry…I had to do it.

  4. Make America Brate Again Says:

    At $8 million a year, I say bring him back.

  5. Dirks Great GranPappy Says:

    He’s a good rotational player And we can slide him inside(mind out the gutter) on passing downs when people are gassed. I would be ok with 8 million maybe 9. We can draft someone to replace but they absolutely will not play the run better and there is no guarantee the rook would effectively rush the passer any better than will either.

    We have the cap space. Limit it to two years of guaranteed money with the ability to release without penalty in year 3 or 4.

  6. Dirks Great GranPappy Says:

    Brate. Same page

  7. Nole on Sat- Bucc on Sun Says:

    Like to see him stay but please already be privately recruiting Calais Campbell.

  8. bucsfaninchina Says:

    This is the type of player we should resign, a versatile unique player and not a run of the mill, undersized, show up once in a blue moon nose tackle like Akeem Spence.

    However, at 8 mil he’s in the same neighborhood as Jared Odrick (stud), a diminished Haloti Ngata, and would be paid more than a mil more than Linval Joseph and Star Lotulelei. Hard to compare Gholston to that crowd.

    Gholston just reeks of a player that if the Bucs let him walk he will be a monster someplace else. Pay the man.

  9. Stpetebucsfan Says:


    No need to apologize. You’ve done your good deed for the day and saved Tmax the time and effort. LMAO

    This is a topic I think we all agree upon….bring back both Spence and Gholston for “the right price”. Unless one of their agents finds a sucker GM to overpay this is pretty much a no brainer. They’re both good in the locker room and continuity is always a good thing….unless it’s overpriced.

  10. Supersam Says:

    Your gonna be in for a surprise Joe. Licht will pay this kid and might have to overpay to keep him.

  11. DB55 Says:

    but even when he gets hurt he finds a way to push through.
    You mean he does take 3 weeks off bc he got a booboo on his hand? What a concept!

    Whatever you decide try to sure up that goal line defense which is atrocious.

  12. gotbbucs Says:

    If Jaq Smith comes back healthy or if they bring in another pass rush specialist Gholston could slide inside where he belongs in nickel defense and kill people. Put it this way, you’re not gonna like what that d-line does against the run if he’s not in there. McCoy is not good against the run, never has been, and everybody else on the roster is replaceable.
    When you have this much cap space and you have a guy like Gholston that has developed nicely like he has, there’s no excuse to not sign him.

  13. Stpetebucsfan Says:

    Sorry to be OT to this thread…I guess this should go on a SB thread but I think you all will enjoy this.

    Google Buick’s Super Bowl Commercial. It’s a real hoot!!! I won’t give it away other than to say in addition to Buick’s new convertible…I love it and as an incredibly satisfied Enclave owner I lust for it for my wife….there’s a youth football game and Cam Newton is involved.

    Worth a quick look.

  14. gotbbucs Says:

    What they need to do is bring in a legit nose guard for once too. Get somebody in there that can play two-gap when they want to run multi-schemes.

  15. 1nebuc Says:

    This is off topic but can anyone tell me why we have not signed mike gleenon to a 10 to 13 million a yr contract lock him up with all intentions of trading him . Im pretty sure a team like Cleveland would take that and our 1 for us to move up to there 12 . Just not understanding that …

  16. Architek Says:

    Man you paid other player more or on par with 8M to be innocent bystanders – at least Will has proven himself to be dependable and a key cog to an ascending defense. He hasn’t peaked yet, he’s a dominant run defender, and he’s a homegrown talent. You don’t let production walk out when you paid Verner 6M to sit all year basically.

  17. Architek Says:

    Use your platform and voice to get Gholston back in pewter!

  18. USFBUC Says:

    Like pretty much everyone I feel like Gholston is a keeper.

  19. martinii Says:

    I close my eyes and see Michael Bennett 2.0. Pay the guy and move on. For the life of me I don’t see this as a daily talking point.

  20. Pickgrin Says:

    No way is Gholston worth $8M per year. $5M tops and that’s pushing it. He’s a solid player and we want to keep him – put you can’t overpay by 130-140% of his market value. If anything, Will should give the Bucs a minor discount if Licht is willing to lock him up long term and guarantee him $8-$10M over the next 2 seasons.

    If Will is more interested in “going for the $” than staying with his “family” – with the franchise that brought him into the league and helped mold him into what he is now…. then we might just have to let him go see if the grass truly is greener when you go for the big shortterm pay off as opposed to staying “home” on a fair to both sides deal that still makes you a multi-millionaire – and see this thing through that you helped build all the way to the inevitable Super Bowl(s).

    The Patriots let Free Agents who want to “go for the $” walk on a regular basis. And they get supplementary draft picks just about every year as a result.

    We are trying to build a dynasty here and you can’t overpay solid role players in that pursuit. Do we have the $ to over pay Will? Yes – for the next couple years at least. But that doesn’t mean we should. It sets a bad precedent quite frankly…

    This negotiation with Will prior to the start of Free Agency might just get interesting.

  21. Stpetebucsfan Says:


    You assume that MG8 would accept the Buc’s offer. Why would he? The Bucs would just become a middle man in a transaction that MG8 can cut for himself.

    He’s an FA which only occurs a few times in an NFL player’s career. This is why each player seeks to see what happens in FA.

    If Cleveland needs a QB…and IF…a very big IF…they think MG8 is the answer they’ll simply scarf him up next month.

    I don’t care what the NFL rules say…I’d bet that MG8’s agent is already working back channels for any team in need of a QB. He’ll simply bypass the Bucs and get their own great deal. Why let the Bucs dictate his fate?

  22. Defense Rules Says:

    @Joe … ““D” as a pass rusher, which is why Mike Smith made him a part-time player.” Joe, EVERY DE we have is a part-time player, even Robert Ayers. Don’t know where to find statistics to back this up, but I bet Gholston is easily in the top 5-10 DEs in the NFL insofar as defensive snaps goes. (Same by the way would go for GMC as a DT in my opinion). Folks talk about getting Jack Smith back, but he’s apparently not durable enough to give us a whole season like Will has time & time again. Everyone long for the speed DE who can get to the passer quickly, but if they can’t stay healthy they won’t do us much good.

    PR did a great piece on Will Gholston yesterday, and it looks like they projected his value somewhere between $6.5 – $7 mil a year. That sounds about right to me (sorry Pickgrin, but the Bucs aren’t the Patriots … not yet at least).

  23. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    He’s worth keeping around, but I’m of the opinion that all of our players should have incentive-based contracts with only a small portion guaranteed at this point. You can put less guarantees if you put good incentives or milestones.

    Good ones for Will Gholston would be

    Games played
    8+ sacks
    10+ sacks
    Some sort of tackle number

    For someone like McCoy, which don’t matter because he already has a contract, but milestones would be:

    10+ Sacks
    Some sort of tackle number
    15+ games played

  24. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I CERTAINLY would not overpay though.

  25. Pickgrin Says:

    Defense Rules – I read that PR piece and disagreed with their #s assessment.

    More inclined to believe spotrac’s “calculated market value” assessment of Gholston at $5.8M – and even that sounds a bit high to me.

    We’re paying Robert Ayers $6M and he’s a 3 down guy who can play inside and also bring juice on the outside.

    Yes Gholston has the positive intangibles of youth and durability on his side that must be factored in – but unless or until Gholston gets 7 or 8 sacks in a season – he ain’t worth no $8M per year.

    I think that an offer of 5 years $25M with $10M guaranteed in the 1st 2 years would be fair to both sides.

  26. Jersey Buc Says:

    Can’t pay 8 million for one dimensional player. Bucs are in a tough situation. They don’t know if Smith will come back all the way and if he does, he’s a one dimensional speed rusher. Spence and McDonald got repeatedly trucked by opposing centers and guards. McCoy had games where teams didn’t feel the need to double team him. Ayers is Ayers, nothing to get excited about. Noah Spence has potential, but he a long ways away from being dominant off the edge. Got pushed passed the QB way too much. The Bucs need an absolute monster on that line. I wouldn’t balk at signing Poe, if the Chiefs choose Berry over him…and have them draft a Charles Smith or Takkarist Mckinley. Both who are in the Vic Beasley mold. Really fast edge rushers, not just quick, but extremely fast as well. Draft is deep with WRs and DBs. They can get them in the mid rounds.

  27. Pickgrin Says:

    “I wouldn’t balk at signing Poe”

    I like the idea of having a true NT next to McCoy that can eat up blockers and RBs. But Poe is going to be EXPENSIVE. Spotrac estimates $13M as his market value.

    That sounds like way too much to me. Can’t help but remember noticing in the playoff game when they were showing the starting lineups and their PFF “grades” at that position on each one – that Poe was rated 66th out of 112 DTs. I don’t put a whole lot of stock in PFFs ratings – but that # shocked me knowing he’s going to supposedly be a highly sought after FA this year…

  28. Jersey Buc Says:

    Poe will be overpaid because he’s only 26. I don’t put much into PFF ratings either, but I believe his grade was attributed to the lack of help surrounding him. Hali had a down year and Houston was out with the knee injury for a period of time. At 6’3 345, he’d plug the middle the way Roy Miller use to…except he’s bigger and more athletic.

  29. Steven007 Says:

    Pickgrin – it’s not your money, or mine. I love it when people complain about the dollars they WON’T be paying to some player! It would be one thing if our cap situation wasn’t sound, but it is. So to me, even if I agree that 5M is his sweet spot, the extra 3M won’t keep us from getting other FA’s we want nor will it hurt in any other way so what’s the problem? At this point we are certainly not the Patriots! When we are at the point where Gholston is one of our mid tier players and we have a plethora of others to make up for him, perhaps. But as others have said I see a Bennett situation here.. Gholston is Bennett’s equal or better as a run defender. Obviously he’s inferior as a rusher. But did you not see how we got gashed by RB’s these last few games he was out? He might have been the difference from us making it to the playoffs. There’s your $2-3M payoff.

  30. Pickgrin Says:

    Steven – you are right – its not my $ so I don’t care a bit about how many of the Glazers millions get spent.

    That said – I DO care a lot about the past, current and future fortunes of this franchise. Been a diehard Bucs fan for a looooong time.

    I finally see a GM doing things right after a full decade of futility in that dept and I want him to keep making good decisions – both now and with an eye towards the future. Bringing Will Gholston back at a reasonable price would be a good decision at this point. Overpaying him by 130-140% might not be. Probably wouldn’t be.

    $75M to spend or whatever the # heading into this year is sounds like a lot – but you have to take off $5-$6M for rookies and probably $35M to resign all the current FA Bucs players they want to and a front loaded big deal to Mike Evans might take $18-$20M off this year’s cap and all of a sudden you are left with like $20M or less to spend in general free agency.
    And you have to be looking at all the big contracts coming up in the next 2 years for Winston, Kwon, Smith, Marpet as well. There’s a lot to factor in.

    Other than the McCoy, David and Martin deals, Licht has not had many chances to establish how we handle 2nd contracts with drafted players. Every time you do one as GM at this point, you are setting a precedent for future drafted players in a similar position. We need to be the team that offers fair deals but doesn’t overpay – and players resign with us instead of “going for the $” on a crappy team – because we’ve got a very good thing going here – and the players know they have a legit chance of winning a Super Bowl in any given year on this team so its worth it to take a bit less to stay in a good situation (especially when 1/2 your paychecks don’t get state tax taken out).

    We’re not quite to that point yet – but that’s where we need to get to in order to have this dynasty that I can envision for the Bucs over the next 12 or so years with Jameis Winston leading the team. It takes careful management and consistently good decisions to be a high level competitor year in and year out.

    Its never too soon to be making good contract decisions for the future of this team. And paying Wil Gholston substantially more than what the Bucs believe his market value is would not be good decision – even if we can “afford” to right now.

  31. c-spann Says:

    we need to obviously sign will back, he is the best run defender on the line. also a lot of you are talking about Poe, i think hankins from NY is a better fit.

  32. Lord Corn Says:

    $5-6 mill per year tops imo – if he wants more then let him test the market and then see. I’d be shocked if he got close to $10..

    For $8-10 mill we can sign a more complete DE or sign a run stuffing d lineman and another contributor. Or spend it on a really solid WR and use the 1st pick on a guy like Taco Charlston who can play run support like Gholston but also be a big time pass rusher

    That all said I hope we keep him

  33. Steven Levy Says:

    Pick, I don’t disagree with much of what you say here in theory. Fiscal responsibility is obviously very important and a huge part of sustainability. And I also agree that when we get to that point, we might let a Gholston walk if we have 1 or 2 guys who do the same/similar thing with the same level of effectiveness. This is precisely what the Pats did when they jettisoned Jamie Collins and Chandler Jones while retaining D’onta Hightower. But again, we are not the Pats. If we had 1 or 2 ballers that can do what Will can do (or more) I’m all for it. But as you well know any FA body we get to do what Will does will cost major $$ and it’s clear that we don’t have a lineman on the roster that does what he does with near the level of effectiveness. You think Will’s potentially expensive? Wait till we see the price for Poe or Short if he makes it to market. It will make 5-8M look like a major bargain. I just keep flashing back to the Bennett situation. And also Roy Miller who was the perfect partner for GMC (and who’s been great with the Jags earning a 2nd contract like Bennett). We could have easily retained those two. Terrible move by the previous GM. Will is a proven commodity. This team has been littered with wasted $$ on guys with very little return even recently (Verner? Collins?) So yes, be cautious. But I think Will, within reason (I would be comfortable keeping it south of 8M), is easily worth the fiscal ‘risk’.

  34. Jersey Buc Says:

    The point is Licht has dollars and draft picks to strengthen a defense that has potential, but couldn’t stop no damn body when it counted at seasons end with a playoff berth on the line. Add the fact that he also needs to get Winston a couple of more play makers , and find a way to keep Winston from getting run over because of poor tackle play. I understand injuries were a part of what happened at the end of the year, but that goes to show the lack of depth they have. Really don’t care whose money it is, just spend it wisely. This will be Licht’s most important off season. Every draft pick and free agent signing is a gamble. We can only judge the sense it makes to be bring them here, based on age and production. Offensively and defensively, you can’t say Tampa is just a player away from being consistently good on either side of the ball. Can’t build teams on the cheap. Age and production, equals SENSE and dollars.

  35. Pete Mitchell Says:

    Joes “Tough call for Mr. Licht. Gholston would be great to have back, but if another team sees him as an $8 million per year player, Joe could easily see the Bucs moving on. And Joe wouldn’t wag a finger of blame.”

    Until he starts for another team in the super bowl.

  36. Stpetebucsfan Says:


    Again an excellent post. That is a great point about Licht and precedence! He has to be careful.

  37. cmurda Says:

    I want you all to know that I bumped into McCoy at Disneyworld last Saturday. I let him know about all you haters. Well, actually I didn’t say that and by bumped into him, I mean he walked by me and we didn’t talk to each other. But he did give me a thumbs up for my Bucs gear I was wearing.

  38. Another J Says:

    I like DE’s that actually get to the QB.
    He’d be worth keeping for 2 years at 6 million, but not a penny more!

  39. Paul Schmit Says:

    We let Bennett go and regretted it ever since! Don’t make the same mistake with Gholston.