A flood of hugs and handshakes filled the 49ers’ locker room about 5:30 p.m. Monday.
Practice was in 30 minutes, but backup outside linebacker Parys Haralson, one of the organization’s longest-tenured and most respected players, wouldn’t be participating.
With the 49ers stacked at his position, they traded Haralson, 29, to the Saints, a league source said. San Francisco will receive a conditional 2014 seventh-round pick, the Sacramento Bee reported. If Haralson, a fifth-round pick in 2006, doesn’t make the team, the 49ers won’t receive compensation.
The 49ers play New Orleans on Nov. 17, prompting running back Frank Gore to say, smiling, to his longtime teammate, “Go easy on me.”
Haralson became expendable with the emergence of outside linebacker Corey Lemonier, a third-round pick from Auburn who has opened eyes in the preseason. In Sunday’s preseason win over the Vikings, Lemonier had four quarterback hurries on 16 pass rushes, according to Pro Football Focus. In 35 rushes, Lemonier has eight hurries and a sack in three exhibition games.
Lemonier and Dan Skuta are expected to be the outside linebackers behind Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks. Another possibility at the position is Cam Johnson, a 2012 seventh-round pick who sustained a shoulder injury of unknown severity Sunday.
Haralson, who started 56 of 57 games from 2008 through ’11, was preparing to assume a backup role behind Smith last year but sustained a season-ending torn triceps in a preseason game.
In March, he took a significant pay cut to remain with the team. He was scheduled to earn a base salary of $2.57 million in 2013, but that figure was lowered to $1.15 million. Lemonier, Johnson and Skuta are scheduled to earn a combined base salary of $1.81 million this season.
After Haralson posted a career-high eight sacks in 2008, the 49ers signed him to a four-year, $15 million extension. Haralson had just 11 sacks from 2009 through ’11, but did carve out a reputation as a strong run defender.
Haralson’s popularity was evidenced by the number of teammates who converged on his locker to wish him well Monday. One of Haralson’s closest friends on the team is All-Pro defensive tackle Justin Smith.
“He’s a great teammate, as we all know,” defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said this month. “Coaches like him. There isn’t anybody in the building that doesn’t like him because that’s just who he is as a person.”
The Saints were in the market for a linebacker with Victor Butler and Will Smith out for the season with knee injuries. Smith sustained a torn ACL in Sunday’s preseason game against the Texans.
For 100% Confidential Coaching on Love, Sex, Relationships, Business or Career contact us TODAY at 904.679.5067 or CoachNow@ZoeLena.com