SATURDAY, 11:50am: The Falcons have officially announced the signing.
FRIDAY, 9:33pm: Chester will get a one-year, $2.8MM deal from the Falcons, tweets McClure.
8:29pm: Released two days ago by Washington, veteran guard Chris Chester didn’t last long on the free agent market. According to Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com (Twitter link), Chester is signing with the Falcons after paying a visit to the team today.
Chester, 32, started at right guard for Washington last season, but with 2014 third-rounder Spencer Long ready to take over that role and Chester’s cap number approaching $5MM, the veteran became expendable. Still, while Spencer, a former second-round pick, may not have been in Washington’s long-term plans, he can still be a positive contributor.
In 2014, Chester played the eighth-most offensive snaps among guards (1,091), and ranked 33rd among 78 qualified players, according to Pro Football Focus’ grades (subscription required). With a +6.4 grade as a pass blocker, Chester was better in that aspect of the game than he was as a run blocker, though that’s not necessarily consistent with his career performance.
Earlier today, we heard that Chester was set to visit Atlanta and Philadelphia, but it appears head coach Dan Quinn and the Falcons didn’t let him leave to meet with the Eagles. As I noted this afternoon, the Falcons have Harland Gunn, who has made one career start, penciled in as a potential starter at one of their guard spots following the departure of Justin Blalock, so bringing in a veteran like Chester makes sense.
When he officially joins the Falcons, Chester will reunite with Kyle Shanahan, the Falcons’ new offensive coordinator who previously held the same position in Washington.