It’s officially official. On Monday, the Bucs announced that they have exercised defensive tackle Vita Vea’s fifth-year option.
Vea was a huge part of the Buccaneers’ defense before going down with a serious ankle injury. Even though he was limited to just five games, the Buccaneers did not want to leave him exposed to free agency in 2022. Thanks to the new collective bargaining agreement, Vea’s 2022 season will now be fully guaranteed, as opposed to being guaranteed for injury-only. That’s just fine for the Buccaneers, who watched Vea start all 16 games in 2019 for 35 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and three passes defended.
Originally believed to be lost for the season, Vea managed to return in time for the NFC Championship Game and the Bucs’ Super Bowl victory. The 12th overall pick of the 2018 draft should be fully healthy for 2021, allowing him to make his case for a lucrative long-term deal. In the meantime, Tevita Tuli’aki’ono Tuipulotu Mosese Va’hae Fehoko Faletau Vea is locked in for an additional season at around $7.64MM.