Jason Garrett Reveals Why Cowboys Cut Taco Charlton

Taco Charlton

Getty Taco Charlton

Jason Garrett explained away Taco Charlton’s release from the Dallas Cowboys, rationale layered in coachspeak from the veteran head man.

Holding his pre-practice press conference Thursday, a day after Charlton was waived in a widely anticipated transaction, Garrett justified Taco’s departure as being “in the best interest” of the Cowboys.

“We made that decision yesterday with Taco to release him really in the best interest of our football team,” he said, via NBCDFW.com. “We really wish him nothing but the best going forward, unfortunately, it didn’t work out the way we want it to. It’ll give him an opportunity to go somewhere else and we’ll move on as a team.”

Following a failed months-long attempt to trade him, the club bit the bullet Wednesday and waived the 2017 first-round draft pick, who appeared in 27 games across three still-incomplete seasons — the fewest games played for a Cowboys first-rounder since 1986 top choice Mike Sherrard (16).

His lack of production (four career sacks) and position inflexibility (can’t play inside) notwithstanding, Charlton apparently rubbed those within the facility the wrong way. He revealed that his agent told him the coaches were turned off by his attitude, and one anonymous Cowboys official, after his release was announced, described the 24-year-old as “soft.”

Garrett hasn’t characterized Charlton in such a manner. But, reading between the lines, he wasn’t exactly his biggest fan, either. After Dallas’ Week 1 victory over the Giants, Garrett failed to cobble together even the football-iest cliche regarding Taco’s future.

“Yea, we’ll see,” he said. “You know, it’s always going to be a competition every week to see who’s going to be up and available for us at all positions. We have 10 guys on the roster on the defensive line, and we dressed eight for the game. It just felt like guys we had up there gave us the best chance.”

Assuming he clears waivers on Thursday afternoon, Charlton will be free to sign with whichever team he pleases. The Cowboys wish him well in his future endeavors, so long as they’re far from the Lone Star State.

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Dallas Hopes He’s Claimed

If Charlton is scooped up on waivers, his new employer would be on the hook for the remainder of his four-year rookie contract, which carries a $1.376 million base salary for 2019 and $2.735 million salary cap number.

Bryan Broaddus and Rob Phillips of the Cowboys’ official website explored the financial ramifications of Charlton’s release in their latest mailbag, a snippet of which is posted below.

Bryan: The Cowboys will be carrying $4.5 million in dead money if he is not claimed.

Rob: As Mickey pointed out on Talkin’ Cowboys, Charlton has $1.83 million in guarantees from the Cowboys if he isn’t claimed on waivers. That’s the total of his previously scheduled base salaries in 2019 and 2020. Bryan mentioned the dead money on the cap over the next two years. The fact that they released him anyway shows they simply were ready to move on.

‘Soft Taco’

Now that he’s no longer under contract, Charlton is learning the truth about his old bosses in Dallas, and how they really felt about him. It ain’t flattering. By his own admission.

“My agent,” Charlton relayed to Maven Sports’ Mike Fisher on Tuesday, a day before his release, “was told some of the coaches don’t like my personality.”

The anti-Taco folks inhabiting The Star wouldn’t dare dump on the player — publicly or privately — so long as he was hanging around, as the Cowboys desperately attempted to drum up trade value for the third-year defensive end. That dream ended Wednesday, and the (anonymous) gloves came off.

“I asked a member of the Cowboys organization why didn’t it work out for 2017 first-round draft pick Taco Charlton,” NBCDFW’s Newy Scruggs wrote Wednesday. “The one word response I received was ‘soft.’ So in the end, the impression the club had of the defensive end was simple, he was a soft taco. Ouch.”

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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL