Dez Bryant, former Cowboy. (Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Dez Bryant, one of three players in Dallas Cowboys history with at least 500 career catches and 7,000 receiving yards, will be released by the team, ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Todd Archer reported Friday. According to multiple reports, Bryant was informed of the news during a one-on-one meeting with team owner Jerry Jones Friday at team headquarters.

Bryant reacted to the news on Twitter:

And Jones put out a statement Friday afternoon, saying the move “was not an easy decision” but “was made based upon doing what we believe is in the best interest of the Dallas Cowboys.”

“Ultimately,” Jones said in the statement, “we determined it was time to go in a new direction.”

Bryant, 29, signed a five-year, $70 million contract extension in July 2015, months after catching a career-high 16 touchdown passes and being named a first-team all-pro. Since then, he has caught no more than 69 passes in a season and has just 17 touchdown receptions. As noted by Football Perspective, only the Rams’ Tavon Austin underperformed more, relative to the size of his contract, than Bryant in 2017. Since 2015, he has made $300,000 per reception, the highest per-catch rate in the NFL, while catching only 49.7 percent of his passes, the worst mark of any NFL receiver with a minimum of 200 targets.

In other words, Bryant was expendable, especially after Dallas signed younger wideout Allen Hurns to a shorter, cheaper deal in March. NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport says the move will take effect immediately, opening up $8.5 million in cap space for the Cowboys.

MMQB’s Albert Breer summed it all up earlier this month:

He can’t run by anyone anymore. He lacks explosion, evident in the loss of inches off his vertical. He’s still inconsistent as a route-runner. He’s hard to count on for Dak Prescott. And as some there see it, he’s not doing enough to counteract all of that.

“Based on last year,” one staffer says, “he does very few things really well.”

As for Bryant’s next destination, apparently he wants to stay in the NFC East …

… because he’s not taking the news all that well:

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