With the roster exemption for Robert Quinn's return expiring Wednesday, the Cowboys opted to cut ties with Charlton despite being on the hook for more than $1.8 million in guaranteed base salary over the next two years.
On Monday, Charlton posted -- and then deleted -- "Free me" on Twitter. He then tweeted, "Trust me the last thing I want to do is have to go to social media to get what I want so I can play football again."
The Cowboys had trade discussions with teams for Charlton, but nothing that prompted them to make a deal. Charlton was not on the field during the open portion of practice to the media Wednesday.
Charlton is one of the rare failed first-round picks the Cowboys have made in the past decade. In 2012, the Cowboys moved up to the sixth pick in the draft to select cornerback Morris Claiborne, and he never had more than one interception in his five seasons.
Charlton, the 28th overall pick in 2017, had four sacks in 27 games (seven starts) but was inactive for the first two games of this season. He had been a healthy scratch in four of the past six games, dating to the end of the 2018 regular season.
He was not able to find a consistent role in the rotation used by defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli. Last year, Charlton missed three games because of a shoulder injury that required offseason surgery. He also had ankle surgery.
After a slow start to camp, he had two sacks this preseason but faced a numbers crunch with the Cowboys liking the work of last year's fourth-round pick, Dorance Armstrong, and this year's fifth-round pick, Joe Jackson, because of their versatility.
If Charlton is claimed by another team, the Cowboys would not owe him the guaranteed money. If he goes unclaimed and signs with another team at a lower salary, the Cowboys would be on the hook for the difference in the guaranteed money.
Quinn practiced for the first time Wednesday since returning from his two-game suspension for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing drugs. He suffered a broken hand in training camp, but that has healed and the expectation is he will play Sunday against his former team, the Miami Dolphins.
He said he worked out for four hours a day during his suspension, not far from the Cowboys' headquarters. Quinn added that his surgically repaired hand has healed well enough to where he hopes not to need extra padding.
"If you ask a man what he can and cannot do, I'm sure he's going to tell you he can do everything," Quinn said. "If they need me to play 50, 60 snaps, that's what I have to do. You look at our D-line, we've got depth. We've got people who can play every position. At the end of the day, I'm just looking to help this team win. If it takes 10 plays or 50 plays, I just want to win."
That his return is coming against the team that traded him to Dallas in the offseason does not matter, according to Quinn.
"A lot of the guys are gone," Quinn said when asked whether he has contacted any of his former teammates. "It's kind of crazy what's going on. I kind of broke it down like this way: I think Coach [Brian] Flores is doing his thing, same thing [Jon] Gruden's doing. He's putting his team together. However you want go about it, that's how he's going about it.
"... I'm not in the building, so who cares? Again, he's the head coach. He can do what he wants. At the end of the day, like I said, you've seen one coach do it, don't knock another coach for doing the same thing. That's what it is."
The Cowboys could be without defensive end Tyrone Crawford on Sunday because of recurring hip issues that limited his work over the summer. Crawford did not practice Wednesday.