- Phil Sheridan, ESPN Staff Writer
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PHILADELPHIA – The plot thickens along the Eagles’ offensive line.
Chris Chester, a starting right guard who was released by Washington earlier this week, will work out for the Eagles, according to ESPN’s Adam Caplan. The 6-foot-3, 303-pound Chester started all 64 games during his four seasons in Washington.
Chester is also scheduled for a workout with the Atlanta Falcons, Caplan reported.
Meanwhile, Pro Bowl left guard Evan Mathis has skipped offseason workouts with the team because he’s unhappy about his contract. Coach Chip Kelly has made his displeasure with Mathis known, pointing out after the draft that the Eagles have given him permission to work out a trade with another team. They have not received a single offer, Kelly said.
“I’ve had some conversations with Evan,” Eagles center Jason Kelce said Thursday. “This is just a part of the business. He’s made it clear for two years now that he wants more money. He wants his contract restructured. He’s trying to handle it the best he can.”
During this week’s organized team activities, Allen Barbre lined up at left guard. Kelly had said Barbre would replace Herremans at right guard, so the switch raised questions about Mathis’ future. Coaches typically want offensive linemen to get as much practice time as possible in the position they will eventually play. Matt Tobin was the first-team right guard.
“I think we have three really great guards,” Kelce said, “in Barbre, Matt Tobin and Andrew Gardner. They’ve all three played really good snaps for us. I think we’ll have a great offensive line regardless of the Evan Mathis situation.”
Chester would be an athletic addition to the mix. He played tight end at Oklahoma for three years before switching to the offensive line. Chester graduated a year before Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford started his career at Oklahoma.
As a second-round pick by the Baltimore Ravens in the 2006 draft, Chester played right guard. The Ravens moved him to tight end briefly, but he was soon back at guard. After four years in Baltimore, Chester signed a five-year, $20 million contract with Washington in 2011.
This year, with the hiring of offensive line coach Bill Callahan, Washington was changing its approach. Chester was going to count $4.8 million against the salary cap at age 32. So he was released.
If the Eagles think he can still contribute, Chester could move into the right guard slot. That would allow the Eagles to decide whether to stick with Mathis or move on. Barbre could slide over to left guard in that case.