Former Steelers outside linebacker Taco Charlton has agreed to sign a contract with the New Orleans Saints according to a report from Ari Merov of PFF on Monday.
Charlton joined the Steelers last season and played a rotational backup role at outside linebacker behind starters T.J. Wattand Alex Highsmith. He recorded 18 tackles, seven solo and eleven assisted, and half a sack in 11 games in Pittsburgh. His first appearance for the Steelers came in the 15-10 win over the Cleveland Browns on Halloween and he started in the 41-37 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers on Nov. 21.
Charlton came out of college as the 27th pick in the 2017 draft with the Dallas Cowboys. He spent his first two NFL seasons in Dallas before being released a few weeks into the 2018 season.
The Miami Dolphins claimed Charlton off waivers and he finished the 2018 season in Miami before once again being released. The 26-year-old from Pickerington, Ohio played sparingly for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2020 before hitting the market for the third time.
Charlton was underwhelming in relation to his draft position, registering 11 sacks and 12 tackles for loss in 44 games (12 starts) over four seasons before joining the Steelers. The Steelers, in need of pass rushers entering the 2017 draft, selected T.J. Watt two picks after Charlton.
The Steelers replaced Charlton for the 2022 season by signing former Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Genard Avery.
Charlton is just the fourth Steelers player from the 2021 roster to sign elsewhere in free agency, joining wide receivers Ray-Ray McCloud (San Francisco), JuJu Smith-Schuster (Kansas City) and James Washington (Dallas). Several other Steelers players remain available through free agency, including starters Eric Ebron, Terrell Edmunds, Joe Haden, Joe Schobert and Trai Turner.