49ers Release Ex-Cowboys 1st-Rounder in Latest Roster Move

Taco Charlton

Getty Former Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Taco Charlton.

The San Francisco 49ers are taking steps to whittle down their roster to 53 players, including releasing a former Dallas Cowboys first-round pick. Through six seasons in the league, Taco Charlton hasn’t lived up to his draft billing, and it appears it may be a while before he gets another chance.

On August 27, San Francisco released the 28-year-old defensive lineman after placing him on the injured reserve nine days earlier, according to Mike Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area. The 49ers and Charlton came to an injury settlement, Maiocco posted on X, meaning that he will become a free agent before the 2023 regular season begins.

Initially, Charlton’s placement on the injured reserve meant that he would not have been able to play a snap during the 2023 season. The settlement allows him to potentially sign with a team and get back on the field, but the extent and severity of his injury will determine his chances.

It marks another brief stint with a team for the former Michigan Wolverine, who has hopped around several different teams since he was released by Dallas in 2019. Any reunion between Charlton and the Cowboys seems unlikely, as the two sides have both taken jabs at the other since their breakup during Charlton’s third year in the league.

Charlton Fails to Find New Home in San Francisco

Coming out of Michigan, there was a lot to like about Charlton. He clearly had the physical assets required at 6-foot-6 and 270 pounds and had shown a diversity of playmaking abilities while with the Wolverines.

However, Charlton never hit the next level with Dallas. Pro Football Reference shows that he put up 3 sacks without a starting a game as a rookie, but could only follow up with one sack in 11 games (7 starts) during the 2018 season.

Issues continued to persist and by Week 3 of the 2019 campaign, he was released so the Cowboys could activate Robert Quinn. That must’ve provided extra motivation for Charlton, because he had his best season of his career after joining the Miami Dolphins shortly after his release, making five sacks and two forced fumbles in 10 games.

That earned him a shot with the Kansas City Chiefs, but that didn’t pan out and he played only seven games for the franchise. Similar experiences followed with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2021 and the Chicago Bears in 2022.

His latest stint with the 49ers was more encouraging, evidenced by 49ers Webzone writer Rohan Chakravarthi’s recent assessment on his release.

“Charlton, a standout at times during training camp, could’ve been a potential practice squad player, but an undisclosed injury and the Injured Reserve move took out any chances of that occurring,” Chakravarthi wrote.

Cowboys & 49ers Make Trey Lance Trade

Charlton’s release comes not long after the 49ers and Cowboys made a trade that sent QB and former No. 3 overall pick Trey Lance to Dallas. Lance made only eight appearances for the 49ers over the past two seasons, but the unexpected success of second-year QB Brock Purdy forced out Lance.

Dallas gave up a fourth-round selection in the 2024 NFL draft for Lance, a far cry from the three first-round picks the 49ers gave up for the No. 3 spot in 2021. It’s clear Lance is excited for a change of pace, according to Heavy Sports’ Jonathan Adams.

“Kyle [Shanahan] and I, when we broke the news to him today, saw him [Lance] light up a little bit, and he loves it here,” 49ers GM John Lynch said to press members on August 26.

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