As we said back in January, the Bucs first priority going into the off-season was signing back DE/DT Will Gholston. Only 25 years old, Gholston is one of the top run defenders in the league and is improving as a pass rusher every year. Today, the Bucs got their guy back as they have signed him to a new 5 year deal per Adam Caplan.
Gholston terms with #Buccaneers: 5 years, max $37m, $13.5m fully gtd. He’s 1 of the better run DEs in NFL. He was a big priority to re-sign.
— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) March 6, 2017
Both sides win here as it is a great deal for everyone involved and the Bucs get a key piece of their defense back for this season and beyond. The Bucs retain cap flexibility with this deal as they only give Gholston 13.5 million guaranteed which is important because if the Bucs decide to move on from Gholston they can without having a cap penalty. Gholston got good value as he will make about a little over 5 million per year which is a good number for his production per Mike Garafolo.
DE William Gholston’s deal with the Buccaneers is worth $27.5m base value over five years, source says. Can earn another $9m in incentives.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) March 6, 2017
This is great news for the Bucs front four as they can maintain their flexibility and depth as Gholston can play anywhere along the line and makes them very stout against the run. The Bucs now have four solid ends in Ayers, Spence, Gholston, and Smith which provides a solid rotation for the team. Hopefully Jay Hayes can continue to work his magic with Gholston and help him get better overall with his game. I think Gholston has the potential to be a 5 to 7 sack guy with 50 plus tackles per year which would be great if he can reach that.
Now what is next for the Bucs, I expect the team to re-sign more of their own. Look for Jacquizz Rodgers and Akeem Spence to be the next signings over the next few days along with Russell Shepard at some point as well. Now in regards to pending free agent Calais Campbell, who has been linked to the Bucs in various reports. I think the Bucs will still show interest but with Gholston back I don’t see it as likely now but if they do get Calais then the Bucs would have maybe the best D-line in the NFL. Free agency starts Thursday, buckle up it’s going to be a wild ride.