The Lost Buccaneers

June 22nd, 2023

Former Bucs defensive lineman Will Gholston.

Bucs fans are well versed in the Tom Brady-era players that found new homes, such as Scotty Miller battling for the Falcons’ No. 3 receiver gig and Donovan Smith all set to block the blind side of Patrick Mahomes.

Sean Murphy-Bunting quickly has become a favorite in Tennessee. Keanu Neal got a two-year deal in Pittsburgh and appears to be their starting strong safety.

The list goes on.

But Joe’s eyes today land on what Joe will call The Lost Buccaneers: eight players that were — or were expected to be — significant contributors last season in Tampa.

All are NFL homeless and have yet to hint publicly at retirement.

Logan Ryan
William Gholston
Akiem Hicks
Leonard Fournette
Cameron Brate
Kyle Rudolph
Julio Jones
Ryan Succop

Joe knows Fournette wants and expects to play this season and is training regularly. He caught 73 balls last season and had excellent yards-after-catch numbers. Fournette won’t have trouble finding a job but likely is waiting for the right spot and pay day.

Todd Bowles had a twinkle in his eye about Hicks returning to the Bucs this season. Joe was sitting right next to Bowles 12 weeks ago at the NFL Owners Meetings in Phoenix when Bowles said he was hopeful of a potential second season for Hicks in Tampa. (Poor Bowles. He had a lot of face-to-face time with Joe back then. The guy probably hasn’t recoved.)

Gholston was open about wanting to continue his career, but there have been no rumors. Same for Ryan.

Ko Kieft shared on a Minnesota-based podcast this year that Rudolph told him he wants to keep playing.

It’s been all quiet on the Brate and Jones front, per Joe’s research. And it seems the weak-legged old kicker market won’t pick up for Succop until guys start missing field goals in training camp.

The aforementioned players represent a load of 2022 playing time and production. Just the defensive players alone (Hicks, Ryan and Gholston) accounted for 1,300-plus snaps.

Joe will continue monitoring these ex-Bucs, and several could find a last-minute training camp home. Their options and production this season collectively could say a lot about the 2022 roster.

27 Responses to “The Lost Buccaneers”

  1. gp Says:

    One could almost, maybe, kinda sorta feel sorry for Patrick Mahommie….. Nah!
    He’ll learn!

  2. gp Says:

    Cameron had a damn good run, especially for being undrafted!
    He has pocketed some nice coin, and with his intelligence and Harvard education, he should be able to live a long, healthy, and comfortable life(outside of the NFL).

  3. sasquatch Says:

    I could see Gholston back on a vet minimum deal if there are injuries or the backups aren’t cutting it.

  4. AL121976 Says:

    90% of those guys are past their prime, no big loss

  5. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    Out with the old….

  6. Easy Says:

    Gholston should retire a Buccaneer. The guy has been a very solid for this team for the past decade.

  7. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    Agreed, would like to see Gholston retire as a Buc.

  8. Pewter Power Says:

    could say a lot about the 2022 roster? My friend it says old and slow

  9. teacherman777 Says:

    William Gholston.

    2 more years.

    Don’t make the same mistake as last year. Suh and JPP were missed.

    We need Gholston’s toughness and push our young guys.

    Gholston showed up against the Cowboys. And every game last season.

    I want Gholston for at least 1 more year.

    I want an 8-10 men defensive line/OLB group.

  10. David G Says:

    Gholston could still help the Bucs D, still got a little gas in the tank! Slash play here a, a slash play there thats all he needs to do

  11. Pickgrin Says:

    Rudolph, Brate and Jones are all done and it was pretty obvious last year. Jones made a few plays to be fair but he can’t stay healthy so unless he’s willing to sign for about $2M – no team will likely sign Julio unless and until they get into the season and get desperate because of injuries.

    The rest are all decent to good players with varying “risk” attached (mostly due to age/mileage/injury risk) and all will likely play somewhere in 2023 if thats what those players want to do and the compensation is deemed worthwhile. No one on that list will be signed for more than about $3M-4M though….

    Gholston probably has the best chance from that list of being re-signed with the Bucs prior to the season starting – if he’s willing to play another season for close to vet minimum that is. Logan Ryan is also a decent possibility….

    Chances of the Bucs spending $4-5M+ on Hicks (which is his likely asking price) probably went out the window when they drafted Kancey in the 1st rd.

    Bucs very much needed to get younger and faster so I had no qualms whatsoever with any player on that list not being re-signed.

  12. Joe in Michigan Says:

    I’d like to see Gholston back for another year.

  13. hammerhead Says:

    Yea, I’m surprised Gholston wasn’t resigned to a one year deal. At this point, he can’t be too expensive. His Buc experience could be invaluable with some of these younger players.

  14. HC Grover Says:

    Good Show Joe…good info.

  15. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Was glad to see Rudolph and Brate go. But Gholston might have another year left in him, if we can get him cheap enough.
    Hicks is too old and way too slow, IMHO

  16. unbelievable Says:

    The only 2 from that list that really surprise me are Gholston and Fournette. But I agree that Fournette will sign somewhere at some point.

  17. Defense Rules Says:

    Appreciate this article Joe; good show. Of those 8, I agree that Rudolph, Julio & Brate are done. Succop might have another year or 2 in him. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Gholston & Ryan back with the Bucs this year (we’re quite inexperienced in both position groups). Hicks is a possibility IF Vea or Gaines get hurt for an extended period of time, providing he’d sign for the vet minimum. I still haven’t ruled out Fournette making it back as a Buc (our RB group still doesn’t impress me).

  18. SlyPirate Says:

    $$$ THE WEEKS AHEAD $$$

    The Bucs had to rework rookie deals in order to sign all their draft picks.

    (BTW, I’ve never heard of restructuring a rookie contract.)

    It will be interesting to see what Evans’ new contract does for cap space.

  19. Jeff’s grandpa Says:

    Brats,Rudolph,and jones should read the writing on the wall it’s over fellas thxs cam

  20. Crickett Baker Says:

    I, too, would like to see Fournette and Gholston back but money still needs to come from somewhere. Especially since Brady did us no favors with his $35M cap hit. He seemed to just want to forget about us. I will always be grateful for the SB he helped us win but I say NO to the ROH.

  21. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Gholston is the only one I’d like back.

  22. 1#bucsfan Says:

    We all want golston back. Bring hicks back as veteran leadership and depth. He doesn’t need to start but when he was AVAILABLE to play with vea we had a good record but he would need to be real cheap. A lot cheaper than last year.

  23. Bucsfanman Says:

    I know we love Gholston, but…
    He played 43% of the defensive snaps and recorded a whopping 49 COMBINED tackles with ZERO sacks!
    Please tell me how this “production” is irreplaceable.

    Expect more Bucs fans.

  24. westernbuc Says:

    For what it’s worth Gholston still posts Bucs content. I wouldn’t be surprised if Brate retires but is probably looking for the right opportunity. Lenny wants money and the Saquon situation is messing up the whole market. Julio was pretty much toast when we signed him (search the archives, I was right on this).

    I’m one of those guys that wets himself over comp picks so I can’t wait to see what Licht gets out of that

  25. Buccos Says:

    I would rather have Whitehead and Neal as our starting safeties than whatever combo we have this year. We let the 2 best get away for peanuts

  26. garro Says:

    Logan Ryan
    William Gholston
    Akiem Hicks

    We would be wise to being these three back…If at all possible.

    Thanks Joe and please do keep us posted on our lost Bucs.

    Go Bucs!

  27. garro Says:

    Give Gholston and Hicks incentive contracts and lets go! Ryan would be harder to sign I think.

    Go Bucs!