Buccaneers: Grading the Notable 2017 Free Agents
The run stuffer has returned. In his second year as a starter, Gholston posted a career-high 3.5 sacks to go along with 50 total tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. According to Pro Football Focus, Gholston was on the field for 586 snaps, second most along the line to the big guy, Gerald McCoy. He doesn’t have the reputation of a pass rusher at this point, although that is his goal (per the team website):
"“My whole goal is to become an elite pass-rusher, to be honest with you,” he said. “I wouldn’t label myself as a run defender. I feel like with the opportunity that I’ve had to rush the passer, I’ve progressed and progressed and progressed. Hopefully, within these next few seasons I become an elite pass-rusher, because that’s the goal to be honest with you.”"
His Pro Football Focus grade in the pass rush was a 44.0 while his grade in run defense jumps to a 72.8. Gholston has work to do to achieve his goals, but being a top run defender is nothing to be ashamed of either.
The contract is worth $27.5 million over five years, with $13.5 million of it guaranteed. It calculates to a $5.5 million average salary, which is clearly a raise from his rookie deal but doesn’t break the bank. The largest cap hit of the deal is in 2017 at $7 million.
Gholston isn’t a guy that sets the world on fire, but he is a solid player signed for a reasonable amount of money.