Super Bowl champs exercise fifth-year option on DT Vita Vea

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have exercised the fifth-year option on the contract defensive tackle Vita Vea signed as the 12th overall pick in the 2018 draft.

The 6-foot-4, 347-pound tackle has started 29 of 34 regular-season games he’s played with the Bucs, compiling 7½ sacks and 19 quarterback hits while contributing to the success of a pass rush led by linebackers Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul.

Vea was sidelined most of 2020 after breaking a leg in Week 5 against the Chicago Bears. He returned to play an important role in the playoffs, though, appearing in Tampa Bay’s wins over Green Bay in the NFC championship game and Kansas City in the Super Bowl.

General manager Jason Licht said last week that the club planned to pick up the option on Vea’s contract.

“When he’s in there, a lot of things happen for not just him, but everybody else around him,” Licht said.

Vea has started 21 games over the past two seasons, helping the Bucs lead the NFL in rushing defense each of those years. Over that span the Super Bowl champs have allowed a league-low 77.2 rushing yards per game and just 3.43 yards per rushing attempt.

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