In 2019, the Buffalo Bills invested a multitude of resources in improving the offensive line. In particular, the team spent big to improve the interior line, adding four free agents for three starting spots.
While it was clear from the beginning who would start at center, it was the battle for the starting spots at guard that drew interest. The Bills had a good problem, of course—they had three starting-caliber players ready to fill two spots—but there were still some question marks.
In today’s edition of “91 players in 91 days,” we profile the eventual winner of the starting right guard job—an outcome that wasn’t necessarily expected at the time, but as the season progressed, it was clearly the right outcome.
Name: Jon Feliciano
Height/Weight: 6’4”, 325 lbs.
Age: 28 (29 on 2/10/2021)
Experience/Draft: 6; selected in the fourth round (No. 128 overall) of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Oakland (now Las Vegas) Raiders
Acquired: Signed with Bills on 3/13/19
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Feliciano enters the final year of the two-year contract he signed last March. That deal is worth a total of $7.25 million, of which $3.9 million is guaranteed. For the 2020 season, Feliciano carries a salary-cap hit of $4.4 million.
2019 Recap: After battling with Spencer Long for the right guard job, Feliciano emerged victorious and claimed the starting spot. Initially, some thought that Long had the inside position for that job given his contract, but Feliciano won it outright. He started every game for the Bills at right guard, and he even served as the team’s backup center, sliding over for a few games when Mitch Morse was injured. Feliciano committed seven penalties on the year (six in the regular season) while proving to be a valuable starter both in terms of his play and his contract relative to his performance.
Positional outlook: Feliciano is assumed to be the starter at right guard once again, barring some unforeseen event like an injury. The Bills did sign Daryl Williams—who has experience both at right guard and right tackle—this offseason, so the veteran (and former Carolina Panthers lineman) could jump Feliciano in the starting lineup. Long returns, as well, as do Quinton Spain, Mitch Morse, Ike Boettger, and Ryan Bates. Garrett McGhin, Marquel Harrell, and Evan Boehm round out the positional group.
2020 Offseason: Nothing new to report.
2020 Season outlook: Feliciano will most likely start at right guard once again, and he’ll be in the market for a contract next offseason. If the Bills can sign him for a comparable price to what they paid Spain this spring (three years, $15 million), then they should do that without hesitation. Feliciano brought a certain level of nasty to the line, and his versatility definitely helps. One possible caveat to retaining Feliciano involves Cody Ford, the man expected to play next to him at right tackle. If the Bills end up finding that Ford fits best as a guard, then they may allow Feliciano to walk this year, sliding Ford inside and replacing their right tackle. However, that kind of talk is a year away. For now, expect Feliciano to reprise his role as the last man to stop pounding at (or just a bit after) the whistle blows.