Bucs sign defensive end William Houston before free agency

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William Gholston has struck gold.

Gholston, 25, has signed a contract extension with the Tampa Bay Bucs that will pay him $27.5 million over the next five years.

Gholston (6-6, 281) was selected in the fourth round (126th overall) out of Michigan State by Tampa Bay in the 2013 NFL Draft. In his four-year career, the Detroit native has played in 57 games, with 36 starts, totaling 188 tackles (29 for loss), 10.0 sacks, eight passes defensed, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.  In 2016, Gholston led all Buccaneers defensive linemen in tackles (49), tackles for loss (nine) and run stuffs (5.5), in 14 starts, prior to missing the final two games of the season with an elbow injury.

 Since 2013, Stats, Inc. credits Gholston with 21.5 run stuffs, the ninth-most in the NFL among defensive linemen during that time. His 188 tackles during that span are also the ninth-most among defensive linemen in the NFL, while his 29 tackles for loss are fourth-best among defensive linemen from the 2013 NFL Draft class.

“I’m very excited. It’s an amazing day, a great day for me and my family,” said Gholston, a fourth-round draft pick in 2013 out of Michigan State. “I’m very glad to be able to spend the next five years of my career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, hopefully more than that. I’m ready to go.”

Gholston can make as much as $9-million more over the five-year contract with incentives.

“We really went over everything, all the numbers, all the pros and cons, and I felt like Tampa came with an offer I couldn’t say no to,” said Gholston, who made a total of $2.56-million in his first four seasons but will get double that each season in his new deal. “I love the area, love the team. I have relationships with everybody in the locker room and really respect the knowledge of all the coaches that we have.”

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.