Trimming down an NFL roster to just 53 players is never easy, and some roster decisions can be more puzzling than others.
Some big-name talent was shown the door just before the 2013 season is set to kick off. Teams finally gave up on other less-than-stellar players, too.
Several teams made smarter roster decisions than others while trimming down. Let's take a look at the biggest winners and losers from this year's roster cuts.
Matt Leinart might have only played for the Buffalo Bills for all of five days, but it's for the better that both parted ways. Leinart tweeted that he was released on Aug. 30, writing, "Tough game. Tough situation. No excuses. [Thank] you to the Bills organization!" before deleting the tweet.
Perhaps Leinart has become content with his status as just a replacement-level backup. That being said, being the backup to a franchise quarterback leaves little chance of ever taking that job. Just ask Ryan Mallett how backing up Tom Brady feels or Curtis Painter how much fun it was backing up Peyton Manning in Indianapolis.
Leinart has enough name-power left to be one of the first quarterbacks called this year if any team's starter or backup gets injured. If the former USC Trojan has any luck left, maybe that team that calls will play somewhere much warmer than Buffalo.
See that picture there? That's Jake Ballard talking to a jam-packed room of reporters before Super Bowl XLVI just two seasons ago. Now Ballard is looking for work after the Patriots showed him the door on Aug. 30.
When asked on Twitter why she thought Ballard was cut, the Boston Globe's Patriots beat writer Shalize Manza Young replied that she thought he just didn't move well enough.
Ballard is just two years removed from a 604-yard and four-touchdown season with the New York Giants. There's a chance another team will give him a shot, but his ACL injury could scare more than a few owners away. It's probably a 50-50 shot whether another squad grabs Ballard or if he's sitting out the 2013 season.
Sorry, Tim Tebow fans, but the dream is over. The New England Patriots have released the former Jets quarterback, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Schefter tweeted the news on Aug. 30, saying:
Patriots released Tim Tebow.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 31, 2013
With his release, the Patriots rid themselves of the media circus that comes with Tebow. He did not make a convincing argument to stay against the New York Giants either. Tebow completed six of 11 passes, threw a touchdown and interception and was sacked four times.
All head coach Bill Belichick's team needs at quarterback is future Pro Football Hall of Famer Tom Brady and 2011 third-round pick Ryan Mallett. There's no need to bog your team down with distractions from a third-string quarterback.
One of the most entertaining stories from this preseason has come to a close for the time being. Tim Twentyman of DetroitLions.com tweeted on Aug. 27 that Detroit had parted was with Havard "Kickalicious" Rugland.
The Norwegian kicker had the tall task of dethroning former Eagles and 49ers kicker David Akers to make the Lions' final roster.
"I do know that he had a good camp and that he improved from beginning until the end. The future is probably in his hands," Lions head coach Jim Schwartz told Carlos Monarrez and Dave Birckett of the Detroit Free Press regarding the YouTube sensation.
Kickers move around quite a bit in the NFL these days, but it'll probably be at least several weeks before Rugland receives any calls for work. He's never played in the league before, and most teams give their struggling kickers the benefit of the doubt until making phone calls for new blood.
Some might've be shocked to see the Bears cut J'Marcus Webb on Aug. 30. He started 44 games for Chicago over three seasons. What the Bears finally realized, however, is that there is a difference between starting and being a quality starter.
In this year's Bleacher Report NFL 1000, NFL Draft Lead Writer Matt Miller ranked Webb 28th out of 35 rated left tackles.
He's a decent run-blocker, but his struggles to protect Jay Cutler have been apparent. The Bears' quarterback has been sacked 113 times over Webb's three seasons with the team.
The Bears had Webb take a pay cut of more than 50 percent before the preseason began. The tackle still couldn't live up to the team's lowered expectations of him. Bottom line, Webb was part of Chicago's struggles, and the team is better off without him.
Marcus Trufant might be on the wrong side of 30 years old, but that can't sting as hard as being cut by the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags released the former Seattle Seahawk along with Mike Kafka and Jeremy Ebert on Aug. 30.
Jacksonville is about to start the 2013 season with Cowboys castaway Alan Ball and rookie Dwayne Gratz as its starting corners. Trufant had to be a little surprised by the pink slip in his locker considering who the Jags have at his position.
Trufant was a Pro Bowl selection for the Seahawks back in 2007 when the team made its first and only Super Bowl appearance. It's very possible that Trufant will be putting on another NFL uniform in 2013, but this has to be the lowest point in his career.
Yes, Joe McKnight was cut by the lowly New York Jets. While that is a bit of a low moment for the running back, he's already got another team interested in him.
Along with Havard Rugland, the Packers worked out McKnight on Aug. 30, and one has to think he has a good chance of getting signed.
Green Bay has learned in recent years that running back depth is never a bad thing. Just last season, the Pack had to re-sign Ryan Grant after James Starks and Cedric Benson suffered season-ending injuries.
McKnight offers the Packers a dynamic returner while also bringing depth to the running back position. Mike McCarthy's team is starting its fourth different running back in as many seasons.
The former Jet has a good chance of donning a new shade of green before the 2013 season is over.
Mike Thomas had 66 receptions for more than 800 yards back in 2010 with an 8-8 Jacksonville Jaguars team. Apparently that season was just a flash in the pan, as Thomas has been cut from his second team in as many seasons.
Ten days after he signed with the Arizona Cardinals, the team parted ways with Thomas on Aug. 30. Since Aug. 19, Thomas has been cut by the Detroit Lions, then hired and fired by the Cards. It hasn't been a great end of the month for the veteran receiver.
It would take a desperate team with more than a few injuries to consider writing up a contract for Thomas. He's had just one notable season in his career and never finished with more than one touchdown in a season besides 2010.
The Oakland Raiders seemed like they were going to take a chance on former Browns kick returner Josh Cribbs this season. Oakland thought better of the idea, cutting Cribs on Aug. 25.
While the former Pro Bowl selection was a formidable returner once upon a time, he didn't show the speed he once had in Cleveland. Cribs did just have knee surgery this offseason, and the Raiders already have Jacoby Ford.
Ford is a fine returner who set the Raiders team record for most kickoff returns back in 2011 when he recorded his fourth, ironically against Cribbs' Browns.
There's certainly a chance that another team takes a shot on Cribbs as he still has a fair amount of name value. What the Raiders realized, however, is that he doesn't offer enough to warrant one of their final 53 roster spots.
It's not a sentence you see written often these days, but Oakland made a smart move here.
According to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport, the Carolina Panthers cut Jimmy Clausen and Drayton Florence Aug. 31. Carolina parting ways with Clausen is far from surprising, but Florence is another story.
Florence is not exactly on the level of Marcus Trufant, but he's a decent starter at cornerback. He was also a projected starter for the team. Now the Panthers will have to rely on former fifth-round draft picks Josh Thomas and Josh Norman to step up.
Neither Thomas nor Norman have played more than one full season in the NFL, whereas Florence is a 10-year NFL veteran. The former Lions corner could've been a veteran leader for Thomas and Norman. The two players the Panthers chose over Florence have just a combined five years of NFL experience between them.
Bleacher Report's own Michael Schottey thinks a reunion with Detroit could be possible for Florence, tweeting:
Wouldn't be surprised to see Lions bring him back. They liked his dependability RT @ProFootballTalk: Panthers cut CB Drayton Florence— Michael Schottey (@Schottey) August 31, 2013
One way or another, Florence will find himself on an NFL roster, but he could've been a big help to the team that just cut him.