Controversial Ex-Cowboys Star Released by Bears in New Roster Move

Taco Charlton

Getty Former Dallas Cowboys defensive end Taco Charlton walks onto a field.

The Dallas Cowboys may have their eyes forward on the playoffs, but one of the team’s former first-round picks is no without an NFL team.

Like any NFL team, Dallas has no shortage of players who didn’t pan out or make the grade. But in terms of the most recognizable names to flame out with the Cowboys, Taco Charlton has to be on the list.

Charlton was released by the Chicago Bears on December 28 according to the NFL’s official transactions report. Heavy has covered Charlton’s journey since departing the Cowboys, with his latest stop being in Chicago.

But after signing with the Bears in November, the defensive tackle is again a free agent. It continues a trend for Charlton, who has not been able to maintain a spot with any of the several teams he’s joined since being released by the Cowboys in 2019.

However, teams have been interested in him this year, so it’s not an impossibility that he finds another new home before the playoffs. Just don’t expect it to be in Dallas.

Cowboys and Charlton Have Beef

Dallas owner Jerry Jones doesn’t shy away from speaking his mind, and he didn’t shy away from making Charlton the butt of a joke earlier in 2022. In a press conference previewing the 2022 NFL draft, Jones name-dropped the former Michigan man.

Sitting with head coach Mike McCarthy and CEO Stephen Jones, the Cowboys owner made a quip blaming his son for drafting Charlton, according to Dallas Morning News Michael Gehlken.

“Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said there is a lot of talk about who makes the draft decisions in building,” Gehlken posted on Twitter. “Jones: ‘Taco was Stephen’s call,’ prompting laughter in news conference room.”

Charlton took notice, but did not respond with words. Instead, the defensive tackle posted a GIF of a man wiping tears away with dollar bills.

According to Spotrac, Charlton received a $5.43 million signing bonus after being drafted by the Cowboys and added $1.55 million in salary on top of that. However, some will say that the defensive tackle missed out on bigger money by not making the most of his time in Dallas.

Stints with Bears, Chiefs and More

Since being unceremoniously released in September 2019 after failed trade attempts, Charlton has played regular-season games for four teams including the Kansas City Chiefs, Bears and Miami Dolphins.

Obviously, he hasn’t found a place to stick in recent years but that doesn’t mean he still hasn’t shown the talent that made him the 28th overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft.

In 2019, Charlton racked up five sacks in 10 appearances for the Dolphins. According to Pro Football Reference, he also forced two fumbles and added three tackles for loss.

He contributed two sacks for the Chiefs in 2020, and a half-sack for the Steelers in 2021. Despite clear ability, the numbers have fallen for Charlton as he’s bounced around and the 28-year-old did not register a sack with Chicago before being cut.

There’s evidence pointing toward Charlton still being a useful defensive lineman in the league, but the former Cowboys defender has yet to find a situation that is mutually beneficial for both himself and the team.