Through the years, certain names have become synonymous with the phrase Draft bust. They are names like Ryan Leaf, Mike Mamula, Lawrence Phillips, and Brian Bosworth. Vernon Gholston is on the fast track to joining them. Gholston has been a disappointment in every way in his two seasons with the Jets.
Gang Green thought it was adding a potential elite pass rusher in the 2008 Draft when selecting Gholston. That has not been the case to put it kindly. It would be one thing if Gholston simply could not crack the starting lineup. The problem is he has made virtually no impact. He has 30 career tackles. He still does not have a sack. This is from a guy who was supposed to be a disruptive pass rusher.
It would be one thing to excuse Gholston's rookie struggles. He was adjusting to a new position. The problem is any progress in the second year was extremely small. There are now two coaches under whom Gholston has done nothing of note. One of them is one of the most innovative defensive minds in the game, a guy who figures out how to put players in positions tailored to their strengths. Look at how guys like Mike Devito and Sione Pouha improved under Rex Ryan. What can you say about Gholston? That he did an ok job maintaining his gaps starting for Calvin Pace for four games?
Two years is usually too soon to give up on a guy. I think it may be warrented in this case. There are cases of talented guys who get off to slow starts and eventually develop. These guys at least show flashes that they could be great. Take Reggie Bush for example. He's been a disappointment as a pro. There are still games like the one he had against Arizona in the Playoffs that show he could become an elite running back in football if he just learned fundamentals like reading his blocks, absorbing contact, and not trying to swing everything outside. Mark Sanchez wasn't that great during his rookie year, but he had games where he made some incredible throws. Once he puts it all together, he could be special. I don't think Kyle Boller will ever get it, but I've seen him play some great games. I could at least understand a team rolling the dice by signing him.
When have we ever seen anything out of Gholston to suggest he can be an impact player in this league? Thus far he's shown he MIGHT turn into a decent backup one day.
An uncapped year would give the Jets a unique chance to rid themselves of his hefty top ten pick contract. They could save somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 million in future salary including reachable incentives.
You may say give him another year. If the Jets do that, and there is a cap, cutting him will cost $7 million. I think we can all agree he will not justify his contract. There is no justification for bringing him back at the current price. Cut him, save the money, and resign him for the minimum. Other teams have film. They aren't going to go much higher. If there was a cap, this wouldn't be an option. His contract would cost too much against the cap. This is an opportunity.
Some have questioned Vernon's dedication to the game and his heart. This may not be entirely fair. We can't say for sure. Something is definitely missing somewhere, though. He has as many physical gifts as anybody. We just haven't seen anything to suggest he belongs in the league. I question whether he ever will.
I vote to let Gholston go.
How do you vote?