The veteran defensive lineman is nearing a deal to stay in Tampa, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. At least four other teams expressed interest in the nine-year veteran, per Fowler, but Gholston wants to stay with the Bucs. It is a one-year agreement, Greg Auman of The Athletic tweets.
Tampa Bay already extended Gholston, but the team is in a bit stronger position than it was when the parties agreed to that deal — a five-year, $37MM pact — back in 2017. Gholston, 30, played out that contract last season. Gholston has been a regular starter for the Bucs for most of the past eight seasons and sits behind only Lavonte David as the team’s longest-tenured player.
After teaming with Gerald McCoy as the Bucs’ D-line anchors, Gholston has worked alongside Ndamukong Suh and Vita Vea for the past three seasons. Vea signed an extension recently, but Suh is unsigned. So is Jason Pierre-Paul, who has been connected to other teams. But the Bucs have done well to retain high-priority free agents, tagging and then extending Chris Godwin and keeping Ryan Jensen and Carlton Davis off the market.
Fournette and Gholston represent the latest puzzle pieces. Although unsigned players remain and the team lost guard starters Alex Cappa and Ali Marpet, Tampa Bay’s 2022 offseason resembles its historic 2021 retention effort.
Gholston, who will turn 31 before Week 1, registered a career-high 4.5 sacks last season. DC Todd Bowles deployed Gholston as a part-time player in 2021, using him on 44% of the team’s defensive snaps. The former fourth-round pick has nevertheless been a key part of the team’s past two Bucs defenses, combining for 15 tackles for loss and 31 quarterback hits in that span.