Cowboys’ Former First-Round DT Signs with Saints in Free Agency

Taco Charlton

Getty Taco Charlton walks out of the tunnel while playing with the Dallas Cowboys.

Another former Dallas Cowboys star has found a new home in free agency, as the New Orleans Saints continue to build in the offseason.

Back on March 29, New Orleans signed quarterback Andy Dalton, who spent the 2020 season with the Cowboys before spending a season with the Chicago Bears. Now, Taco Charlton is the latest ex-Dallas player to link up with the Saints in free agency.

NewOrleans.Football creator and reporter Nick Underhill dropped the news on April 4, which was then confirmed by the team and player.

“Saints signed Taco Charlton, per source,” Underhill Tweeted.

After the initial reports came out, the Saints and Charlton didn’t take long to respond. Charlton initially Tweeted the classic “#WHODAT” call of the New Orleans fanbase before sending a message of gratitude to Pittsburgh Steelers fans.

“#SteelerNation thank you for embracing me with love,” Charlton posted.

The Saints mark the fifth NFL team Charlton has played for since being taken by Dallas in the first round of the 2017 NFL draft, and the fourth since the Cowboys released the former Michigan star in 2019.

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Charlton with Cowboys, Steelers and Others

Charlton was a highly-touted prospect coming out of Michigan. With a name like “Taco Charlton,” the ability was complemented by a name that even non-hardcore fans can and still recognize.

However, his production at the NFL level has never jumped off the page. In just 27 games with Dallas, he totaled four sacks, one forced fumble and eight tackles for loss. Considering he was lining up to the likes of Robert Quinn and DeMarcus Lawrence, the numbers from Pro Football Reference are even less impressive.

Dallas needed to make room for Quinn in 2019, and Charlton’s roster spot was already on thin ice, as Dallas Morning News reporter Calvin Watkins wrote at the time. That led to Charlton being released two week into his third season, which in turn led to the Michigan standout joining the Miami Dolphins.

The change must have helped, as Charlton totaled five sacks in 10 games in 2019. The Kansas City Chiefs took a chance on the defensive tackle in 2020, but his stops in Kansas and then with the Steelers did not see him match his 2019 season, with Charlton landing 2.5 sacks in 18 games over the past two seasons.

Charlton can be considered a bust due to his first-round status and frequent hops in free agency, but he is still just 27. At the prime of his athleticism, the defensive tackle’s career is far from over.

Saints Sign Dalton

As mentioned above, the Saints also brought in Dalton this offseason in what appears to be a backup role. While fellow QB Jameis Winston is set to make $14 million per year over the next two seasons, ESPN insider Adam Schefter reported that Dalton’s deal clocks in at a bit less.

“Saints are signing former Bears’ QB Andy Dalton to a one-year deal worth up to $6 million, including $3 million guaranteed, per source,” Schefter posted on March 29.

Dalton’s arrival in New Orleans marks the third NFL team the former TCU Horned Frog star has played for since leaving the Cincinnati Bengals after the 2019 season.

Like when he was a member of the Cowboys, Dalton is a backup again and will need to work uphill to get back to starting NFL games.

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