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Jason Licht: Buccaneers will be picking up Vea’s fifth-year option

Vea overcame a gruesome injury early in 2020 to help his team in the postseason.

NFL: Super Bowl LV-Kansas City Chiefs vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

When defensive tackle Vita Vea was lost for the season following his leg injury during their Week 5 matchup in Chicago, many wondered what the young defensive tackle’s road to recovery would look like. But Vea persevered through it and his road to recovery led him to his availability for the Buccaneers run to the Super Bowl during the playoffs.

His importance to Tampa Bay’s defense and his return resonated throughout the organization, as general manager Jason Licht described Thursday.

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

Tampa Bay was huge once again against the run and in pressure in 2020. Despite production not being there statistically for Vea in the playoffs, big things still happened throughout the defense when he’s on the field, as Licht noted.

Because of what he brings to the team, Licht and the Buccaneers will be picking up his fifth-year option saying that it is “safe to say” they will be doing so after being asked if he would.

The 12th-overall selection in the 2018 draft will now be another major player for the Buccaneers defense through 2022, and hopefully beyond.