Buccaneers officially exercise Vita Vea’s fifth-year option

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Buccaneers General Manager Jason Licht announced earlier this month that the team would pick up the fifth-year option on the contract of defensive tackle Vita Vea. They made if official Monday.

Vea was the 12th overall choice in the 2018 draft.

He will make $7.638 million under the option, which now is fully guaranteed.

This marks the fifth year in a row the Buccaneers have exercised the fifth-year option on a player. Vea follows Mike Evans, Jameis Winston, Vernon Hargreaves and O.J. Howard.

Vea missed the final 11 games of the 2020 regular season and the first two games of the postseason after fracturing his ankle. He returned to play in the NFC title game and Super Bowl LV.

“He plays a very pivotal role in our defense,” Licht said, via the team website. “When he’s in there, a lot of things happen for not just him but everybody else around him. The day that we found out that he was going to come back and play, it was a very big day for all of us. It was a very exciting day. Coaches, scouts, players, owners, everybody – we were all very excited.”

Vea has 73 tackles and 7.5 sacks since joining the Bucs.