SANTA CLARA — Scott Tolzien bid farewell to the 49ers' crowded corps of quarterbacks Monday, one of five players cut in the initial wave to reach Tuesday's 75-man roster limit.

The defending NFC champions also released Cardinal Newman High graduate Al Netter. The former Northwestern offensive lineman from Rohnert Park was signed as an undrafted free agent in 2012, then spent all of last season on the Niners' practice squad.

The 49ers also, reportedly, traded linebacker Parys Haralson to the New Orleans Saints. Neither team had announced the deal or what the Niners would receive in return for the linebacker.

Tolzien served as the No. 3 quarterback behind Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick the previous two seasons, having been claimed off waivers from the San Diego Chargers after the 2011 exhibition season.

Also released were punter Colton Schmidt, linebacker Joe Holland and running back D.J. Harper, whose fumble in the exhibition opener was returned by the Denver Broncos for a touchdowns.

Tolzien did not play in Sunday night's exhibition win over the Minnesota Vikings after experiencing back spasms in practice last week. He completed 18-of-34 passes (team-low 52.9 percentage) for 188 yards with no touchdowns and one interception through the first two exhibitions. Tolzien, who led Wisconsin to the Rose Bowl, has never played in an NFLgame.

Coach Jim Harbaugh announced after Sunday's game that Colt McCoy had distinguished himself as Colin Kaepernick's top backup. Rookie B.J. Daniels and recently acquired veteran Seneca Wallace are vying for Tolzien's former role as the No. 3 quarterback.

Haralson will get playing time after the trade. New Orleans is in desperate need at the linebacker position as a pair of would-be starters are dealing with serious knee injuries — Will Smith and Victor Butler.

Haralson departed San Francisco team headquarters Monday night after saying his goodbyes before the team began a late practice, acknowledging that he had been traded while providing no further details other than, "I'm outta here."

Saints outside linebacker Smith will be sidelined for the season with a knee injury, a person familiar with the situation said. Butler is recovering from knee surgery that will sideline him most or all of the season.

Haralson said while walking to the parking lot, "I want to let them announce it," pointing upstairs to the team's front office.

He offered handshakes and hugs throughout the locker room, changed out of 49ers gear and into shorts and a T-shirt, then left the facility.

He told teammates he would fly out first thing in the morning to join his new team — headed back to the Big Easy, where San Francisco lost the Super Bowl 34-31 to the Baltimore Ravens in February.

The NFC champion Niners have depth at linebacker and Haralson was in a reserve role while beginning a comeback season after missing all of last year's postseason run with a torn left triceps.

"It was really hard," Haralson said in a recent interview with The Associated Press. "I think that's hard for anybody."