Chris Chester raises questions about Eagles' plan

PHILADELPHIA -- If Chip Kelly has a plan for his offensive line, it doesn’t appear to be going very well.

Kelly released veteran right guard Todd Herremans, who signed with the Indianapolis Colts. Meanwhile, left guard Evan Mathis has not attended any offseason workouts because of dissatisfaction with his contract.

Last week, the Philadelphia Eagles made a play for former Washington guard Chris Chester after he was released. According to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Caplan, the Eagles offered Chester a two-year contract.

Chester signed with the Atlanta Falcons on a one-year, $2.8-million deal. According to Caplan, Chester believed he had a better chance of starting for the Falcons. Given the start of the Eagles' guard situation, that’s difficult to understand.

As a right guard for most of his career, Chester likely would have fit in at Herremans' old spot. That would have allowed the Eagles to play their next best guard on the left side. The competition for that job would have included Allen Barbre, Matt Tobin and Andrew Gardner.

The bigger question is whether the Eagles would have released Mathis if they’d been able to sign Chester. The 33-year-old Mathis went to the Pro Bowl earlier this year but missed seven games with a sprained knee in 2014. While he has been a very good player, Kelly has shown no hesitation to part with very good players during his two years as Eagles head coach.

If Kelly is counting on Mathis to return and play left guard, Chester would have made sense as a solid option at right guard. Having two experienced veterans in Chester and Mathis might have been Kelly’s plan for the guard positions.

As it is, Chester is in Atlanta and Mathis is missing in action, so Kelly has zero experienced guards for this line. Barbre and Tobin might wind up being more than competent replacements, but they weren’t the starters in Kelly’s apparent plan for the guard spots.