Vea, the 12th overall pick in 2018, signed a four-year deal worth $14,824,238 and was fully guaranteed. The 26-year old Vea is set to earn $4,716,803 in 2021 and his fifth-year option will be between $7.3 million and $7.638 million.
Vea has been the team’s starting nose tackle since his arrival in Tampa Bay. He has recorded 73 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 19 QB hits and 7.5 sacks. After starting all 16 games in 2019, Vea suffered a broken ankle in the fifth game last season that forced him to go on injured reserve. Vea started the 2020 campaign hot with 10 tackles and two sacks in five games before his injury.
He diligently rehabbed after surgery and rejoined the team in the NFC Championship Game and Super Bowl LV. Vea pushed the pocket, helping the Bucs defense record five sacks against Green Bay and three against Kansas City.
General manager Jason Licht had previously announced that the Bucs would ultimately be picking up Vea’s fifth-year option, but Tampa Bay has now made the move official.
“Yes, it’s safe to say that,” Licht said in early April about picking up Vea’s option. “He plays a very pivotal role in our defense. When he’s in there a lot of things happen. Not just for him, but everybody else around him.”
The Bucs have picked up the fifth-year options for all of Licht’s first-round picks since 2014, including Vernon Hargreaves, the team’s first-round selection in 2016. Although Hargreaves never played that fifth season in Tampa Bay, as he was released during the 2019 season.