2011 49ers Grades: Shawntae Spencer

We are a week away from free agency, which means we should get an idea of the 2012 salary cap in the next four or five days. As the 49ers get that salary cap figure, one piece of business remains to figure out what to do with Shawntae Spencer. Given the news that has floated around Spencer, it could be more a matter of simply executing a given plan.

Shawntae Spencer entered 2011 training camp as a likely starter at cornerback. He had his ups and downs over the past seven years, but given the question marks at the cornerback position, he was as good an option as anybody. Of course, as has been the case for much of his career, Spencer suffered injuries in camp and quickly fell to the back of the depth chart.

Spencer got healthy late in the first quarter of the season, but then suffered a turf-toe injury, which derailed him again. He eventually got healthy, but was deactivated for two of the final five regular season games, and then for both playoff games. The season started with reasonably high expectations for Spencer, but by season's end it was pretty clear that Spencer and the 49ers would be parting ways.

The 49ers could still be looking to trade Spencer, or even try and negotiate a lower deal. I would guess the former more than the latter given some of their young talent at the cornerback position. However, the future of Carlos Rogers could still potentially impact Spencer. Is it at all possible that if Rogers walk, the 49ers figure out a way to bring back Spencer? I would imagine the odds of that happening are slim, but it's still something to ponder.

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