Veteran guard Adam Snyder and core special-teamers Kassim Osgood, C.J. Spillman and Bubba Ventrone were among the 22 players pared from the 49ers roster Saturday as they reached the league-mandated 53-player limit.
Coach Jim Harbaugh said in a conference call that salary-cap space is a constant concern, but it wasn't a "dramatic" factor in the release of veterans such as the aforementioned quartet.
Indeed, one or more of those players might be re-signed by the 49ers when the climate is more conducive.
As vested veterans, Snyder, Osgood, Spillman and Ventrone would be guaranteed their 2014 salary if they were on the opening-day roster.
If the 49ers re-sign any of them after the season begins, those players get paid only for the games they are on the roster.
The 49ers kept three quarterbacks, with Blaine Gabbert and Josh Johnson backing up Colin Kaepernick.
Johnson played well during the 49ers exhibition games, in particular against the Houston Texans on Thursday, when he completed 14 of 17 passes and passed for three touchdowns.
"We all felt like he had earned it," Harbaugh said of Johnson being kept. "All three quarterbacks (earned it). That's typically what we've done, been a three-quarterback team."
In somewhat of a surprising move, the 49ers kept Kyle Nelson over Kevin McDermott as their long-snapper. Nelson gives the 49ers more versatility as a tight end and coverage man on special teams.
Nelson is one of many young players slated to play quite a bit on special teams. Harbaugh said those players are "going to have to rise to the challenge."
The 49ers kept eight offensive linemen, including Jonathan Martin. However, rookie center Marcus Martin is injured and out for at least six weeks -- Harbaugh said he was given that timetable by team doctors.
That means the 49ers enter the season with seven offensive linemen, with Martin and Dillon Farrell the backups for now.
"He's done a fine job," Harbaugh said of Farrell, a rookie out of New Mexico. "He's versatile, he's played well in the games, and we felt like he earned the position."
Not surprisingly, the 49ers kept all their big-name receivers, including Stevie Johnson and Brandon Lloyd, who were added this offseason.
In other news, the 49ers placed outside linebacker Aldon Smith on the reserve/suspended list in response to Smith being suspended nine games Friday for violations of the league's substance-abuse and personal-conduct policies.
Harbaugh said Smith participated in the team meeting Saturday. Beyond that, Harbaugh said he isn't sure what Smith will be permitted to do during his suspension.
"I'm still learning that myself," Harbaugh said.
Harbaugh addressed Smith's suspension for the first time but said little.
"I don't see where any type of comment will be productive," Harbaugh said.
The 49ers also released receivers Osgood, Lance Lewis and L'Damian Washington; running backs Glenn Winston and Alfonso Smith; guards Snyder, Al Netter and Ryan Seymour; offensive tackles Carter Bykowski and Michael Philipp; tight end Asante Cleveland; defensive lineman Lawrence Okoye; nose tackle Mike Purcell; linebackers Shayne Skov and Chase Thomas; cornerback Darryl Morris, long-snapper McDermott; and safeties Ventrone and Spillman.
The 49ers placed cornerback Kenneth Acker and fullback Will Tukuafu on the injured-reserve list.
Tukuafu still is recovering from a concussion. Acker suffered a foot injury, and team doctors recommended that Acker shut it down for a while after an MRI on Friday, Harbaugh said.
Harbaugh said he expects Lloyd to be healthy enough to play against the Dallas Cowboys in the regular-season opener. He isn't as convinced that right offensive tackle Anthony Davis will be ready for that game.
Safety Antoine Bethea is going through the final step of the concussion protocol, Harbaugh said.
The 49ers' following draft picks made the 53-man roster: safety Jimmie Ward, running back Carlos Hyde, center Martin, linebacker Chris Borland, wide receiver Bruce Ellington, cornerback Dontae Johnson and linebacker Aaron Lynch.
Guard Alex Boone remains on the reserve/did not report list during his holdout.
Defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey remains on the roster. It's possible that the 49ers will place him on the injured-reserve/designated to return list, as soon as next week, so that they can free up another roster spot.
He suffered a torn biceps in his left arm Aug. 1. Teams are permitted to designate one player per season for return from the IR.
Kaepernick and offensive tackle Joe Staley were named offensive team captains, Harbaugh said. Linebacker Patrick Willis and defensive tackle Justin Smith were named defensive team captains.
49ers at Dallas, 1:25 p.m. FOX
49ERS' FINAL 53
QB: Colin Kaepernick, Josh Johnson, Blaine Gabbert
RB: Frank Gore, LaMichael James, Carlos Hyde
FB: Bruce Miller
WR: Anquan Boldin, Michael Crabtree, Brandon Lloyd, Stevie Johnson, Quinton Patton, Bruce Ellington
TE: Vernon Davis, Vance McDonald, Derek Carrier
OL: Joe Staley, Mike Iupati, Daniel Kilgore, Joe Looney, Anthony Davis, Marcus Martin, Dillon Farrell, Jonathan Martin
DL: Justin Smith, Ray McDonald, Ian Williams, Demarcus Dobbs, Glenn Dorsey, Tank Carradine, Quinton Dial, Tony Jerod-Eddie
LB: Patrick Willis, Ahmad Brooks, Dan Skuta, Michael Wilhoite, Corey Lemonier, Nick Moody, Aaron Lynch, Chris Borland
CB: Chris Culliver, Tramaine Brock, Chris Cook, Perrish Cox, Dontae Johnson
S: Eric Reid, Antoine Bethea, Craig Dahl, James McCray, Jimmie Ward
K: Phil Dawson; P: Andy Lee; LS: Kyle Nelson