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NFL roster cuts you need to know

It was just a normal Friday in most of the world. In the NFL, it was one of the most painful days of the year for the hundreds of players losing their jobs.

Here at Around the League, it was one of our busiest days of the year. We pumped out posts and analyses all for 17 straight hours on the biggest cuts and what they mean. (It was also a historic day. My daughter Ellis said her first word this morning: "chicken." Our new ATL sponsor approves.)

The complete list of all 32 teams' cuts is right here, but this post is designed to explain the biggest moves fans need to know about. (The players you've actually heard of.)

1. The New England Patriots let go of Deion Branch, Brian Hoyer and center Dan Koppen. Branch was cut in favor of younger players who help on special teams. Ryan Mallett won the backup quarterback job over Hoyer in a possible cost-cutting move. Koppen has struggled with injuries the last few seasons.

Cut tracker
Former New England  Patriots wide receiver Deion Branch was just one of Friday's many releases. Who else was cut? More ...

2. The Philadelphia Eagles are going young in the secondary. Longtime nickel cornerback Joselio Hanson was cut to make room for rookie Brandon Boykin. Veteran safety O.J. Atogwe was cut; Kurt Coleman will start at safety.

3. After all the Colt McCoy chatter this offseason, the Cleveland Browns gave Seneca Wallace his walking papers. McCoy earned the team's backup QB job, so don't expect him to be traded.

4. Tim Hightower was a leader of the Washington Redskins' backfield in 2011 before tearing his anterior cruciate ligament. A lot of Washington outlets thought he would start again this season, but he just couldn't get healthy, and the Redskins released him. It wouldn't shock us to see him back with the team at some point.

5. Some Miami Dolphins players you got to know on HBO's "Hard Knocks" were cut, including Roberto Wallace. We were very sad to see Jarrell Root and Chris "7-11" Hogan released as well. David Garrard and Matt Moore remain on the roster, although Moore has been involved in trade rumors.

6. John Beck lives. The Houston Texans kept him as their third quarterback, and will likely try to sneak Case Keenum through waivers and onto their practice squad.

7. Vernon Gholston was cut by the St. Louis Rams. This is no surprise, but the former No. 6 overall draft pick is probably done in the NFL.

8. Mike Kakfa is an Ex-Eagle. Philadelphia tried to trade him, but couldn't find a taker. Rookie Nick Foles will be the team's backup and Trent Edwards surprisingly took over the No. 3 quarterback job.  Philadelphia cut defensive tackle Antonio Dixon to reach 53 men. Safety Jaiqwuan Jarrett remains on the roster.

9. The Saints chose Garrett Hartley as their starting kicker. That means veteran John Kasey has been cut loose.

10. The Giants cut D.J. Ware after five years with the team. This one is a surprise. So was the team's decision to place cornerback Terrell Thomas on injured reserve. There was major hope he could return this year to help the team. Shaun Rodgers is also out for the season on IR.

11. The Bills decided to keep Tyler Thigpen and Tarvaris Jackson. Thigpen was expected to go. They cut all of their "bubble" receivers like Marcus Easley and Ruvell Martin.

12. The Bears let go of quarterback Josh McCown. They will roll with just two quarterbacks: Jay Cutler and Jason Campbell. Wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher made the Bears roster.

13. Some fun survival stories: Undrafted rookie linebacker Vontaze Burfict made the Bengals, while fellow undrafted quarterback Kellen Moore made the Lions.

14. The Vikings cut quarterback Sage Rosenfels despite guaranteeing him money this offseason. Could they go after a veteran quarterback like Brian Hoyer? The Vikings also acquired cornerback A.J. Jefferson from the Cardinals.

15. The Broncos let go of cornerback Drayton Florence only a few months after signing him to a two-year, $4.5 million contract. Knowshon Moreno made the team.

16. The Chargers cut fullback Jacob Hester. He was a third-round pick in 2008.

17. The Packers cut promising wideouts Diondre Borel and Tori Gurley. They aren't big names, but look for them to get picked up elsewhere. (Miami makes sense.) Donald Driver is safe in Green Bay.

18. New England made a late night eyebrow-raising move. They stashed Olympian Jeff Demps on injured reserve even though he wasn't believed to have a serious injury. We won't see Demps until next year.

19. Former Colts starting quarterback Curtis Painter couldn't make the Ravens as a No. 3 quarterback. They cut him. Linebacker Sergio Kindle survived the cuts and then made like a ninja turtle.

20. Braylon Edwards made the Seahawks. Wide receivers Deon Butler, Ricardo Lockette, and Kris Durham were all cut. Edwards may wind up starting.  In a surprise, the Seahawks activated James Carpenter from active/PUP. It's possible Carpenter could be the first player "designated for return" if the team places him on IR next week.

21. 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh cut his former University of San Diego player Josh Johnson. Scott Tolzien made the team as a No. 3 quarterback.

22. Jimmy Clausen and Armanti Edwards both made the Panthers roster. Did not see that coming.

23. The Rams cut backup quarterback Kellen Clemens. That means undrafted rookie Austin Davis is the team's backup quarterback, at least for now.

24. Jordan Shipley was not on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for long. He's gone, as is preseason starting quarterback legend Brett Ratliff.

25. The Raiders placed linebacker Aaron Curry on reserve/PUP. There were rumors he could be released.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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