The writing may be plastered on the wall for Taco Charlton. In bold, red ink. Underlined. Twice.
Charlton, the ballyhooed No. 28 overall pick of the 2017 NFL draft, was a healthy scratch for the Dallas Cowboys' opener against the New York Giants -- always an ominous sign.
Another ominous sign? The Cowboys are, and likely have been, involved in player-for-player trade talks with an undisclosed team involving Charlton and an unnamed player, according to in-house reporter Bryan Broaddus.
During a live video appearance breaking down Dallas' Week 2 matchup in Washington, Broaddus inferred the Cowboys aren't seeking much in return for the underachieving defensive end.
"I think they would shoot for a five [fifth-round draft pick] right now, I really do. I don't think there's a, you know, you're going to get a whole lot of value there," he said, via Blogging The Boys. "I know there's a team that they're talking to, I don't want to get into the team because I don't want to hurt their chances with the team. But there's a team they're talking to about another player on that team at a position that can help them."
Charlton broke the news of his deactivation the night before the Giants game, telling Maven Sports' Mike Fisher "everything is going to be OK." He also expressed frustration about missing a showdown with Eli Manning, tweeting, "I guess I'll have to wait for that for now."
Charlton has bordered on the B-word -- bust -- to this point, with four sacks to his name through 27 appearances. He was viewed as a potential release candidate before a highly impressive preseason in which he consistently buzzed around the ball.
Charlton was a one-man wrecking crew in Dallas' regular season dress rehearsal against the Texans, logging three tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles, a pass deflection and fumble recovery across 19 -- nineteen -- snaps. After the game, he interestingly claimed that he hadn't done "sh-t" to earn a roster spot.
The team kept him on its 53-man roster but Fisher felt the Week 1 deactivation foreshadowed a future trade including Charlton, who himself admitted last month he'd contacted his agent regarding a move out of the Lone Star State.
"Me and my agent, we had our talk," Charlton said after the Cowboys' preseason loss to the 49ers on Aug. 10. "We hear a lot of things. Like I said, I go out with the same thing each time. I try with the same thing, I go out there and play hard, try to be the best player on the field. My mentality never changes. I try to dominate the guy I'm against and try to make plays for this team and the type of plays for this defense that makes us a better defense for sure."
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Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett was asked in an ESPN radio interview Monday why Charlton was down against New York and what his future holds in Big D. Garrett sidestepped the question as he normally would, responding in layers of coach-speak -- complete with the dreaded "we'll see" variable.
"You know, it's always a competition every week to see who's going to be up and available for us at all positions," he said, via Blogging The Boys. "We have 10 guys on the active roster on the defensive line, and we dressed eight for the game. It just felt like the guys we had up there gave us the best chance."