Granted, it’s become much simpler to sign first round picks in recent years in the NFL. This is because of: the rookie salary cap and the “slotting” of where players were picked and what their predecessors have gotten before.
Still, the Buccaneers efficiently moved Thursday to finalize a rookie deal with the #12th overall pick, DT Vita Vea, from the University of Washington.
Bucs beat reporter Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times had the news first:
Vita Vea, the 12th overall pick, will receive a four-year contract worth $14.82-million that includes an $8.861-million signing bonus. The deal is fully guaranteed and includes a club option in the fifth year.
— Rick Stroud (@NFLSTROUD) May 24, 2018
Interesting that the Buccaneers would choose to fully guarantee the contract, which is a growing trend. However, again, under the NFL salary structure, a contract averaging $3.7 million per year is not massive, by any means.
Vita was still available to Tampa Bay after the Bucs dealt their seventh overall pick to Buffalo for a pair of second rounders and swapped spots with the Bills at 12. And the Bucs gobbled up the massive Pac 12 Defensive Player of the Year. They look to pair him on the defensive line with six time Pro Bowler Gerald McCoy on the Bucs interior line.
If you are wondering about the timing of the deal, consider that, as of Thursday afternoon, only two players drafted in front of Vea had signed their rookie deals. They are OG Quenton Nelson of the Colts (#6) and QB Josh Rosen of the Cardinals (10th). Further, the 13th pick, DT Daron Payne of Alabama, already got a similar four year $14.4 million deal right behind Vea.
And if you are wondering how Vea’s deal compares with the 12th pick last year? Well, he actually got more salary and a slightly bigger signing bonus that the Texans gave to Deshaun Watson who got $13.85 million overall and $8.2 million up front.
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