Jon Feliciano has been a gem after frankly being an afterthought of a 49ers free-agent signing for most fans. But that hasn't stopped him playing well enough to earn an upgrade (and maybe an extension).
For the last few seasons, it feels like the San Francisco 49ers stumble across a free-agent signing who's mostly an afterthought but turns out to be a gem.
Last season, it was safety Tashaun Gipson who was signed off the street as an emergency pickup just before the season started and emerged as such a strong starter that he not only was not a liability but stopped now-Houston Texans player Jimmie Ward from moving back when he had recovered.
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Not only did Gipson outperform all expectations, but he managed to earn another contract for 2023 where he's continued his solid play as the 49ers are now at 11-3 and widely considered the best team in football.
A similarly unheralded signing for this season has been guard Jon Feliciano.
Feliciano came over from the New York Giants as a cheap interior depth option for a team that sorely needed it. In the process, Feliciano moved from center to guard, and his performance when he's had to cover for both left guard Aaron Banks and right guard Spencer Burford has been sensational.
The one weakness the 49ers possess on offense is on the right side of the offensive line, where pass protection has been an issue. Burford and right tackle Colton McKivitz are by no means irredeemable, but they're young players who have struggled on occasion.
With the Niners looking to make a push to the Super Bowl, it's time for head coach Kyle Shanahan to make the switch.
Feliciano should be starting to help stabilize the right side of the line, while Burford can be the backup and continue to improve his play.
Sometimes, the little signings make the biggest impact, and Feliciano could very well be like Gipson and play himself to an unexpected extension if he earns the starting role and helps the trenches as the team looks for its first Super Bowl trophy in almost three decades.