There will be one fewer former member of the Buffalo Bills in the Meadowlands next season.
After the former Bills offensive coordinator took over as head coach of the New York Giants — and Joe Schoen left Buffalo’s front office to become their general manager — the team snagged a number of former Bills players. One of those players has now moved on, with offensive lineman Jon Feliciano leaving for the San Francisco 49ers.
Jon Feliciano Moves West
As Newsday’s Kim Jones reported on Twitter, Feliciano joined the 49ers on a one-year deal. The 31-year-old Feliciano started 15 games at center for the Giants last season, helping to anchor the league’s fourth-best rushing offense.
NFL reporter Jordan Schultz noted that Feliciano had one the best all-around seasons of his career in 2022.
“Feliciano played a career-high 971 snaps in 2022, while amassing a healthy 97.6 pass-blocking efficiency rating, per @PFF. He also tied All-Pro Andrew Thomas in fewest sacks allowed,” he tweeted.
His departure could leave a significant hole in the Giants offensive line. Fellow center Nick Gates also left the Giants in free agency, though the team held a visit with free-agent J.C. Hassenauer this week, Jordan Raanan reported on Twitter.
Feliciano joined a number of other former Bills players in New York last season, including quarterback Tyrod Taylor, running back Matt Breida and wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins.
As Kyle Madson of USA Today’s NinersWire noted, Feliciano will likely fall behind Jake Brendel on the depth chart in San Francisco but could play multiple positions, as he did with the Bills.
“There’s a chance he battles for the starting center job, but Jake Brendel’s four-year contract from the 49ers this offseason indicates he has a good grip on that job,” he wrote. “San Francisco doesn’t have any experienced depth at center though, so Feliciano being able to play multiple other spots while also backing up at C makes him a potentially valuable piece for the 49ers.”
Jon Feliciano Shared Frustrations About Bills After Leaving
Feliciano had a rough end to his tenure with the Bills, being benched in the team’s 2022 playoff loss to the Kansas City Chiefs and later saying in an appearance on Ariel Helwani’s podcast that the team “deserved” to lose the game.
“To be honest, I was like… hmm. I was definitely sad for my teammates,” Feliciano said. “I did what I can on the sideline. I was coaching up people. Every time Gabe (Davis) scored I was on his hip, like ‘I’m there for you.’ But I can’t lie, there’s a part of me that wasn’t like, ‘Oh, y’all got what you deserved.’ Honestly, when you look back at that game, they weren’t playing football.”
The veteran offensive lineman went on to blast the team’s effort in the loss.
“Everyone was just going through the motions,” he said. “There wasn’t anyone challenging in the face of KC’s defense or there was no attitude out there and I feel like that’s what I bring. And I feel like potentially if there was that it wouldn’t have been such a close game. But who knows, I might be wrong.”