By designating him as a post-June 1 cut, Jacksonville would save $7 million and absorb $1.75 million in dead money over each of the next two seasons, per Spotrac. Otherwise, the team would save $5.25 million and carry $3.5 million in dead money.
Injuries have been the dominant theme throughout Lee's NFL career. He has made 59 career appearances since the Jaguars selected him in the second-round of the 2014 NFL draft.
It looked like he was starting to turn a corner in 2016, when he caught 63 passes for 851 yards and three touchdowns while playing a full season for the first time. He followed up with 56 receptions for 702 yards and three scores in 2017.
Things took a turn for Lee ahead of the 2018 campaign, when he underwent knee surgery before the start of the regular season.
Between the red flags about his durability and Jacksonville's general teardown, his release is sudden but not altogether unexpected.
The timing of his departure does him few favors, though.
The NFL draft starts Thursday and this year's class features a deep pool of promising pass-catchers. Any team interested in Lee would presumably wait until after the draft before tendering any contract offers.
Lee will almost certainly get another chance in the league, but he might have to settle for a short-term deal to show he can stay healthy.