Johnson played well during the preseason, completing 15 of 25 passes for 219 yards and two touchdowns. He added 63 yards on the ground, including 50 yards during Thursday night's preseason finale against the San Diego Chargers.
Part of the decision to move on from Johnson might have been his two-year, $2.115 million contract.
According to a source with knowledge of the deal, Johnson received a $350,000 signing bonus, the only guaranteed portion of the contract. Had Johnson been on the 53-man roster in Week 1, he would have earned a $50,000 roster bonus and had his $700,000 base salary fully guaranteed.
With Smith clearly the starter and Kaepernick the No. 2, Tolzien's non-guaranteed base salary of $465,000 was a more palatable number for the 49ers' No. 3 quarterback role.