William Gholston agrees to return to Buccaneers

Defensive end William Gholston has agreed to re-sign with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on a five-year contract, the team announced Monday.

Sources told ESPN the sides agreed to a $27.5 million deal that could be worth up to $36.5 million based on sack incentives and other escalators. The contract includes $13.5 million guaranteed, according to a source.

"Me and my representation sat down for a while and we really discussed and went over everything, all the numbers, all the pros and cons. I feel like Tampa came with an offer that I couldn't say 'no' to," Gholston said. "I love the area, I love the team, I have a relationship with everyone in the locker room. I really respect the knowledge of all the coaches that we have."

Mike Smith returning as defensive coordinator also played a role in his decision to return.

"That definitely was a great thing for the team and the organization," Gholston said. "Mike Smith brought a lot to the defense with the new scheme and being able to game plan. That was an awesome thing. This really just came down to the choice I had to make for me and my family, and they put me in the situation that would help me prosper outside of football."

Without the new contract, Gholston would have been a free agent at the start of the new league year Thursday.

Gholston, 25, played 559 snaps -- second most along the Bucs' defensive line behind Gerald McCoy -- in 2016, his second season as a starter. His greatest strength is stuffing the run, although he has shown that he can use his 34-inch arms and 6-foot-7 frame to get to the quarterback.

Despite missing two games with a dislocated elbow in 2016, Gholston recorded 49 tackles, 3 sacks, 9 tackles for loss, 6 run stuffs, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. In 2015, he had 67 tackles, 3 sacks, a pass defended and a forced fumble.

Gholston can line up on the outside and the inside, which he did while playing under former Buccaneers coach Lovie Smith. Gholston is also capable of lining up as a 5-technique in a 3-4 defense, although he hasn't done that in his NFL career.

ESPN's Adam Caplan, Adam Schefter and Jenna Laine contributed to this report.