Former Cowboys First-Rounder Released by Saints in Latest Roster Moves

Taco Charlton

Getty Former Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Taco Charlton walks onto the field for an NFL game.

The New Orleans Saints turned heads on the NFL’s final “cut day” of the preseason by releasing a former Dallas Cowboys star on August 30.

In terms of cutting players for the 53-man roster, Dallas faced difficult decisions on the defensive line, as the team boasts legitimate depth across the front. The Saints also have a star-studded defensive line, but one name who won’t be joining them is defensive end Taco Charlton.

Charlton entered the league with the Cowboys in 2017, but was looking to make the roster with New Orleans this year. According to neworleans.football reporter Nick Underhill, the former first-round pick is a free agent.

“The Saints are releasing Taco Charlton, per source,” Underhill Tweeted on August 30.

Charlton has struggled to find footing in the NFL, being on five different teams since going pro. The former Michigan star will have to keep looking, it seems, to get back on an NFL playing field this year.

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Charlton’s Journey from Michigan to NFL

With a very recognizable name and a key role with a prominent college like Michigan, Charlton gained national attention during his four seasons in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Over three seasons, Charlton totaled 19 sacks for the Wolverines, according to Sports Reference, with 10 of those coming in his senior season.

Dallas liked what they saw in Charlton, and took the now-27-year-old defensive end at the 28th spot in the 2017 NFL draft. Unfortunately for Dallas and the player, it didn’t work out well.

Charlton played every game rookie year, but totaled just three sacks per PFR. His second season didn’t bring improvements, as he played just 11 games and earned 1 sack in those appearances.

After just two seasons and change, the Cowboys released the first-round selection in mid-September of 2019. In the three years since, Charlton has played for the Miami Dolphins, Kansas City Chiefs, Pittsburgh Steelers and the Saints.

His brightest spot actually came right after his tenure with Dallas. While playing for Miami, Charlton put up five sacks over 10 games.


Cowboys and Charlton on Bad Terms

Earlier this offseason, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones took a jab at Charlton during a press conference. In the buildup to the 2022 NFL draft, Jones and Dallas held a press conference to talk about their approach.

“Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said there is a lot of talk about who makes the draft decisions in building,” Dallas Morning News reporter Michael Gehlken Tweeted on April 26. “Jones: ‘Taco was Stephen’s call,’ prompting laughter in news conference room.”

It’s the type of comment that Jones has become famous for over the years. It’s also not very subtle, directly saying they viewed Charlton as a flop.

The player took notice and quickly responded by tweeting a gif of actor Woody Harrelson wiping tears away with dollar bills and then retweeting a post from Denver Broncos defensive end Randy Gregory, who had recently picked Denver over Dallas.

Jones had said that the market was “too high,” but Gregory famously signed a deal with the Broncos that was the exact amount the Cowboys offered. When Gregory caught wind, he called Jones out and Charlton clearly resonated with his thoughts by retweeting the post.

“Hell hath no fury like a scorned….owner?” Gregory wrote. “Mans needs to let it go and go find his war daddy already.”

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