It would seem that Taco Tuesday in Miami has come to an abrupt end. The Miami Dolphins are releasing veteran defensive end Taco Charlton after he led the team in 2019 with five sacks. This continues the Dolphins roster churn as they look for the best possible talent.
We have waived defensive end Taco Charlton.
— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) April 30, 2020
Charlton, 25, was picked up off waivers from the Cowboys last September. In his short stint with the Dolphins, Charlton played in ten games, made 21 tackles and – as previously mentioned – led the team in individual sacks with five. As a former first-round pick for Dallas (28th overall in 2017), Charlton was never able to live up to his first-round potential. But Miami made it a point to give several castoffs a chance to revitalize their careers last season, to no avail.
Despite Charlton’s numbers, he fell out of favor with the coaching staff and soon found himself inactive on game days. Coaches never gave a concrete reason as to why Charlton wasn’t playing on Sundays. However, speculation is that Charlton didn’t have the versatility they were looking for in their defense.
“We base who plays and all of that stuff based on game plan.” Former Dolphins defensive coordinator Patrick Graham said last December. “The thing is Taco is working hard. That’s what we’ve asked him to do. Then based on game plan, we make a decision on that.”
the #dolphins claimed DE taco charlton off of waivers in week 3 and since his arrival in miami,he's slowly becoming one of the best pass-rushers on the roster. through 4 games,🌮has recorded 3 sacks, matching his career total.
charles harris has 3 sacks in his career.#tacotuesday pic.twitter.com/omFMq7Xl4N
— josh houtz (@houtz) October 22, 2019
The hope among fans was that Charlton would get an chance to compete in training camp for a roster spot. If anyone was to be released, it would be fellow former 2017 first-round pick Charles Harris, who has only 3.5 sacks in his entire career.
Whether it was Harris or Charlton, the likelihood of either or both of these players no longer being with the team in 2020 was high. The Dolphins invested a lot of capital in shoring up the defense in hopes of creating a pass rush. Kyle Van Noy, Shaq Lawson and Emmanuel Ogbah all project to offer both pass rushing and edge setting at either defensive end or outside linebacker. Then in the draft, Miami selected second-round defensive tackle Raekwon Davis, fifth-round defensive lineman Jason Strowbridge and sixth-round defensive end Curtis Weaver.
Not only that, the Dolphins also have linebackers on the roster who can rush the passer. Vince Biegel signed his restricted free agent tender for $2,133,000 and was disruptive all season. 2019 draft pick Andrew Van Ginkel is also capable of getting to the QB in a hurry.
All of these additions and holdovers make Charlton expendable. The new players on Miami’s roster all offer versatility that Taco Charlton does not. The Dolphins aren’t looking for pure pass rushers anymore. Their 3-4 defense requires players who can set the edge and stop the run. Speed rushing is no longer a high priority.
There will be more moves made as teams shuffle their rosters to find the best possible combination of 90 players.
Luis Sung has covered the Miami Dolphins for numerous outlets such as Dolphins Wire for seven years. Follow him on Twitter: @LuisDSung