2022 Free Agents Analysis: OLB Taco Charlton – Unrestricted

Player: Taco Charlton

Position: Outside Linebacker
Experience: 5 Years
Free Agent Status: Unrestricted
2021 Salary Cap Hit: $472,222

2021 Season Breakdown:

Drafted in the same round in the same year as T.J. Watt, Taco Charlton is never going to get a fair shake, given that the Dallas Cowboys drafted him over the 2021 Defensive Player of the Year. The fact that, this past season, he ended up on the practice squad of the same team, and eventually was promoted to the level of Watt’s backup, will not be doing him any favors.

But five years into his career, it’s really not important at this point that he was once drafted in the first round. What matters now is what he can bring to a team in 2022, and at what price. There’s virtually no chance of any team looking at him for anything more than a veteran-minimum contract this offseason.

As far as his on-field performance, Charlton did get on the field for a couple hundred snaps by season’s end, playing in a total of 11 games. He became much more important once the team resolved to move Melvin Ingram at the trade deadline.

In all, he finished the season with 18 tackles, half a sack, two hits, and a pass defensed. He also likely caused a fumble that ended up being credited to Joe Schobert instead, officially, but we remember the play anyway. He at least played a role in causing it.

Free Agency Outlook:

With all that being said, we are not talking about an indispensable talent, here. He would merely be a cheap and easy depth re-sign, which is his attraction. He is a thoroughly replaceable player. He has some talent and could be a decent depth player, but likely is nobody that they can’t find a reasonable substitute for.

Charlton will be an unrestricted free agent at the start of the new league year in about a month’s time, but I imagine there is an excellent chance that the Steelers will have re-signed him by then, if they have any interest in him.

If they do opt not to sign him, it’s possible that he sits around for a while, and they could go through the free agency and draft process and potentially decide to revisit him after the draft if they still feel the need to bolster the position.

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