The Dallas Cowboys' predicament with Dez Bryant reached its breaking point.
The wide receiver was released Friday after meeting with owner Jerry Jones, the team announced.
"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," Jones said in a statement. "He will always be a valued member of our family."
Bryant was set to earn $12.5 million next season with a cap hit of $16.5 million and still had an additional year remaining on the five-year, $70 million deal he singed in July 2015.
Bryant tweeted after the meeting "let's start the process."
A three-time Pro Bowl selection, Bryant is the Cowboys' all-time leader in touchdown receptions with 73. But he suffered a broken bone in his foot in the 2015 season and has not eclipsed 850 yards in the last three seasons after recording more than 1,200 yards in each of the three previous years.
Asked about the prospect of taking a pay cut in December, Bryant was adamant that he would not accept such a proposition.
"I haven't heard no talk about that but if it comes, I don't know, probably not," Bryant said. "Hell no, man. I believe in me."
The Cowboys signed wide receivers Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson this offseason after multiple reports said they came up short in a failed pursuit of Sammy Watkins, who signed with the Kansas City Chiefs. With Terrance Williams the only returning player at the position who had more than 40 catches last season, Dallas could look to draft a receiver with its first round pick (No. 19 overall) in the NFL draft.
As a free agent, Bryant could draw considerable interest for a team looking for an immediate starter and red-zone threat.
Follow Michael Middlehurst-Schwartz on Twitter @MikeMSchwartz.