The Buffalo Bills have committed substantial resources to improving their offensive line over the last few years. While they seem to be caught in between with regard to the line’s identity—should they be moveable zone blockers or big, angry hat-on-hat blockers?—some of the players transcend scheme.
Every so often, a player signs with a club and his personality signals a clear shift in how a positional group operates. Some players blend in quietly, but others make their presence known at all times. If there’s a scrum on the field, the latter types are always in the middle of it protecting their teammates.
In today’s edition of “90 players in 90 days,” we profile the emotional firebrand on the Bills’ offensive line.
Name: Jon Feliciano
Height/Weight: 6’4” 325 lbs
Age: 29 (30 on 2/10/2022)
Experience/Draft: 7; drafted by the Oakland (Las Vegas) Raiders in the fourth round (No. 128 overall) in the 2015 NFL Draft
Acquired: Signed as UFA on 3/13/2019
Financial situation (per Spotrac): Feliciano signed a three-year contract extension worth a total of $14.4 million this offseason. In 2021, Feliciano carries a cap hit of $3,264,705. The Bills are on the hook for a dead-cap charge of $4.4 million if the Bills release him.
2020 Recap: Feliciano suffered an injury in the offseason, tearing a pectoral muscle in July 2020 right at the start of training camp. He missed the Bills’ first seven games as a result, making his debut in the team’s Week 8 victory over the New England Patriots. Feliciano performed admirably—he did not allow a sack and only committed two accepted penalties in the regular season—but his normal strength and pop weren’t there. This makes sense given the nature of the injury he suffered. He started and played every snap of Buffalo’s three playoff games, as well.
Positional outlook: Feliciano looks like a pretty sure bet to start once again, but the Bills have plenty of depth at the position. Ike Boettger, Cody Ford, Jordan Devey, and Ryan Bates return to the roster, and the team added Forrest Lamp, Jamil Douglass, Jack Anderson, Steven Gonzalez, and Syrus Tuitele.
2021 Offseason: Feliciano is healthy and attending OTAs.
2021 Season outlook: Feliciano’s contract suggests that the Bills view him as one of their top offensive linemen in 2021, and his play backs up that feeling. I expect that he’ll start at one of the guard positions, but with Ford, Boettger, and Lamp around for competition, a job is going to be hard to come by on the interior line this year. Feliciano is going to have to earn his keep once again, and I expect that he’ll be among the starting five in the trenches come Week 1 in September.