Originally posted on Helmet2Helmet  |  Last updated 8/31/12

Throughout Bill Belichick’s tenure, the Patriots have long been known as a team that has no problem going against the grain and parting ways with talented players. Whether it’s due to the numbers game or a financial issue, sentimentality is not big in New England.

The Pats seem to make these moves annually and … well, this year is no different.

According to multiple reports, the team on Friday released, among others, quarterback Brian Hoyer, receiver Deion Branch, and center Dan Koppen, as they work to trim their roster to the 53-man limit by the 9 p.m. deadline.

Hoyer, arguably, is the biggest surprise of the bunch. Viewed by many pundits as the heir apparent to Tom Brady, he was tendered at the second-round level and thought to have won the backup job over 2011 third-round pick (and party animal) Ryan Mallett. That was not the case, however. Don’t expect Hoyer to clear waivers; there are several teams with high-priority that will inquire about his services.

Branch’s release, on the other hand, was more or less expected. It’s become apparent the Pats are going with a youth movement at the position, as they jettisoned a few other veterans wideouts — Donte Stallworth and Jabar Gaffney — in recent days. The 33-year-old Branch has lost a considerable amount of his separation ability and is no longer the player he once was. That being said, he has a decent chance to latch on elsewhere in the coming days.

Following a solid nine-year run, Koppen’s walking papers come as he continues to struggle in his recovery from a broken ankle which sidelined him for all but one game in 2011. Turning 33 in a few weeks, Koppen would provide nice depth along the interior line but first has to prove he’s healthy. If he can’t, the end of the line may be approaching.

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