Buccaneer’s general manager Jason Licht spoke with media today and while most of the press conference was centered around the draft and free agency, he did however offer up a detail on DT Vita Vea.
According to Licht, the Buccaneers intend to pick up Vea’s fifth year option on his rookie contract. Players drafted in the first round have a standard four year contract but with that comes a “fifth-year-option.” The fifth year option allows teams to retain rights of the player for an extra year before they are eligible for unrestricted free agency.
The new CBA agreed to by players in 2020, have split the fifth-year-option into tiers based on a variety of criteria. Vea qualifies for the lowest tier, that will see him make a modest $7.6 million in 2022.
Vea, when healthy, has been one of the most dominant nose tackles in the game. His presence in the lineup was immediately felt in the playoffs when he returned from injury on the way to a Super Bowl victory. He is a force in the running game and his presence commands double teams. Athletically gifted, Vea shows up in the passing game as well with 7.5 sacks over his three years.
An injury limited Vea to only five games in 2020 but still saw him ranked fifth in pass defense and fourth in run defense per Sports Info Solutions. The year prior where he started all 16 games he finished 14th and 10th respectively in those categories.
Vea’s potential is limitless. If he can put together a strong 2021 campaign, a modest deal in 2022 will look like a steal.