Vaughn McClure of ESPN reports that the Atlanta Falcons are set to sign former Washington Redskins guard Chris Chester in a report late Friday evening. Chester was released by the Redskins earlier this week and was brought in for a workout this afternoon afternoon by the Falcons.
Chester started all 64 games over the past four seasons for the Redskins at right guard. Chester is the second former Redskins starter to join the Falcons in the past month, joining his former blocking mate in right tackle Tyler Polumbus. Chester immediately becomes a candidate to compete with Mike Person and others for the starting left guard spot, which was vacated by Justin Blalock upon the latter’s release earlier this offseason.
Chester’s release from the Redskins was both cap-related and prompted by the team drafting a trio of offensive linemen in the draft a month ago. Chester rejoins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan here in Atlanta, as both were in Washington from 2011-13. Chester also rejoins tight ends coach Wade Harman, who served in the same capacity while Chester was with the Baltimore Ravens from 2006 to 2010. Harman spent 2014 working with the Falcons offensive line alongside Mike Tice before being moved to tight ends coach upon the hiring of head coach Dan Quinn.
Chester, 32, is entering his 10th season in the NFL. He was originally a second-round pick by the Ravens in 2006 out of Oklahoma. He began his collegiate career as a tight end before moving to center as a senior. He began his NFL career as a right guard, although did see some action at center and left guard in 2007. Chester started 47 out of 73 games during his five years with the Ravens before signing with the Redskins in 2011.
The Falcons cut undrafted linebacker Derrick Malone today to create room for Chester on the roster. The team also had a surprise release of linebacker Prince Shembo stemming from his being charged with animal cruelty, creating an additional roster space that should be filled shortly. Malone was a two-year starter at inside linebacker and three-time All-Pac 12 academic honoree during his days at Oregon.