The Dallas Cowboys released star wide receiver Dez Bryant Friday.
As reported by Ian Rappaport of the NFL Network, the shocking move was likely based on Bryant’s sizable contract outweighing his scant production in recent years. Scheduled to make a base salary of $12.5 million each of the next two seasons, the three-time Pro Bowl selection’s numbers have dipped dramatically since signing a five-year, $70 million deal in 2015.
Bryant, 29, was one of the NFL’s elite wideouts for three seasons from 2012-2014, catching 273 balls for 3,935 yards and 41 touchdowns in that span. But he’s been plagued by injuries since, with his best year in the past three coming last season when he had 69 receptions for 838 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Bryant will now become a restricted free agent, which won’t be such a bad thing in a receiver-hungry market. As for the Cowboys, this is hardly the first time they’ve cut a player like Bryant, the team’s centerpiece for the better part of five years. Emmitt Smith, Terrell Owens, DeMarcus Ware and Larry Allen were all franchise players when Jerry Jones cut them loose.
Selected out of Oklahoma State in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft, Bryant’s posted 531 catches for 7,459 yards and 73 touchdowns for his career.