Jerry Jones: “This was not an easy decision”

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Cowboys owner Jerry Jones described his decision to release wide receiver Dez Bryant as a tough one, based on a relationship that’s closer than most he has with players.

The team issued a statement from Jones after Bryant was released earlier today.

“As an organization we hold Dez Bryant in the highest regard, and we are grateful for his passion, spirit and contributions to this team for the past eight years. He will always be a valued member of our family,” Jones said. “Dez and I share a personal and professional relationship that is very strong, and he is one of just a handful of players with whom I have become that close to over the past 30 years.

“This was not an easy decision. It was made based upon doing what we believe is in the best interest of the Dallas Cowboys. We arrived at this crossroad collectively with input from several voices within the organization. Ultimately we determined it was time to go in a new direction.”

Ultimately, they decided a $16.5 million cap number was too much for a guy who caught 69 passes last year, and hasn’t been the same kind of threat the last three season since signing his contract extension.

According to multiple reports, the Cowboys didn’t offer a pay cut, and don’t plan to designate him as a post-June 1 cut to spread the cap hit out. That makes this a clean slate for the team, and a chance for Bryant to exact some revenge if he chooses.