Atlanta Falcons sign G Chris Chester

Prior to this move, the Falcons had a massive need at left guard where Sam Baker, who has missed 28 of 32 games over the past 2 seasons combined after tearing both patellar tendons, was penciled in as the starter. Chester wasn’t the top guard available on the open market, as I think Rob Sims and Justin Blalock are better players, but Chester is a better fit for the Falcons’ zone blocking scheme than either of those two, especially not Blalock, who the Falcons cut earlier this off-season because he was a poor scheme fit, which is what created the hole in the first place.

Chester has experience in zone blocking schemes like the one new Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan will be implementing, as he played in Washington from 2011-2013 when Kyle Shanahan was the offensive coordinator and Kyle’s father Mike Shanahan was the head coach. Chester made 48 starts in those 3 seasons and, though he only graded out above average once in three seasons, he graded out 15th in 2012. Even last year, in Jay Gruden’s new power blocking scheme, Chester graded out above average. The issue is that he’s going into his age 32 season, which is part of why the Redskins cut him, saving 4 million on the cap and in cash in the process. However, he’s still a stopgap starting caliber player and a solid value on a 1-year, 2.8 million dollar deal for a team that needed someone like him. He also hasn’t missed a start since 2010.

Grade: B

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