The Dallas Cowboys officially released wide receiver Dez Bryant on Friday.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Todd Archer report Bryant was scheduled to meet with the Cowboys on Friday, but that the team expected to move on from the former Oklahoma State star regardless of how the meeting went. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport later reported that Bryant had been released.
Cowboys expected to release WR Dev Bryant today, barring an unexpected last-minute change of heart, per @toddarcher and me. But the plan going into meeting that is now underway was to part ways with Bryant.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 13, 2018
Bryant’s future with the Cowboys had been a topic of discussion in the media since the offseason began. He has not had 1,000 receiving yards in a season since 2014, and his contract would have counted $16.5 million against the salary cap in 2018 if Dallas kept him on the roster.
The Cowboys need cap space to sign their draft picks and make other moves as necessary. To create that space, they were going to have to either cut Bryant or re-structure his deal. According to Archer, Dallas will save $8.5 million this season by cutting him. However, it was still a tough choice for team owner Jerry Jones.
This would be a difficult decision for Jones because of his relationship with Bryant. He has been a father figure to him since the Cowboys took Bryant in the first round of the 2010 draft. He has scolded him when necessary about off-field issues. He has put an arm around him when needed as well.
Bryant is a three-time Pro Bowl player and was a first-team All-Pro in 2014. At Oklahoma State, he had 87 receptions for 1,480 yards and 19 touchdowns in 2008 before missing most of the 2009 season due to an NCAA suspension. The Cowboys drafted him with the No. 24 overall pick in the 2010 draft.