The move had been expected for weeks. The Jaguars were waiting for Lee to get fully healthy before letting him go, giving him the best chance to pass a physical with another team.
The 28-year-old Lee had been due to make $6.25 million this season and would have counted $8.75 million against Jacksonville’s salary cap. That’s a huge payout for a 28-year-old wideout who has three receptions for 18 yards the last two years combined.
Jacksonville with take on $3.5 million in dead money in 2020 by cutting him. The team also waived running back Taj McGowan.
Lee missed the entire 2018 season after tearing three ligaments in his left knee during a preseason game. He injured his shoulder last October and missed the final eight games.
He had become a role player by then, falling behind DJ Chark, Chris Conley and Dede Westbrook on the depth chart. Jacksonville likely will add a receiver in the NFL draft, especially with Conley, Westbrook and Keelan Cole entering the final year of their contracts.
Now, Lee’s looking for a new home for the first time in six years. Jacksonville selected Lee in the second round in 2014, making him part of general manager Dave Caldwell’s second draft class that included quarterback Blake Bortles, receiver Allen Robinson, center Brandon Linder, cornerback Aaron Colvin and linebacker Telvin Smith. Only Linder remains with the team.
Lee has 174 catches for 2,184 yards and eight touchdowns in six NFL seasons. He’s only played one full season (2016), missing time with a variety of injuries.
Nonetheless, the Jaguars re-signed him in 2018 and gave him a four-year, $34 million contract that included $16.5 million guaranteed. His base salaries the first two years were fully guaranteed.
Lee joins a growing list of players Jacksonville has moved on from in the last six weeks. It includes cornerback A.J. Bouye, defensive end Calais Campbell, defensive tackle Marcell Dareus and quarterback Nick Foles.