The 49ers have granted veteran cornerback Shawntae Spencer permission to seek a trade, sources told CSNBayArea.com.Spencer, 30, an eight-year veteran, does not appear to fit into the 49ers' plans after he ended the season as the No. 5 cornerback. Spencer did not suit up for either of the 49ers' two playoff games as one of the team's active 46 players.Spencer is scheduled to make 3.3 million, including a 100,000 workout bonus, a sum of money the 49ers do not appear likely to commit to him in 2012.The day after the season ended, Spencer expressed his intent to switch agents. Spencer's agent was David Dunn, whose close ties to coach Jim Harbaugh and general manager Trent Baalke, represented a potential conflict of interest, Spencer said.
The Sacramento Bee on Thursday reported Spencer has re-hired Peter Schaffer as his agent. Schaffer represented Spencer earlier in his career.Spencer entered training camp last summer penciled in as a starter. But he missed most of camp with hamstring injuries. When he finally worked his way back into the action as the No. 3 cornerback early in the season, Spencer sustained a hyperextended toe that kept him out for several weeks.When he was healthy late in the season, Spencer could not crack into the 49ers' top four cornerbacks behind starters Carlos Rogers and Tarell Brown, and backups Chris Culliver and Tramaine Brock.Entering 2011, Spencer started 32 consecutive games in 2009 and 2010. He started 72 games in his first seven seasons with the 49ers. Spencer came to the 49ers as a second-round draft pick from Pitt in 2004.Speaking the day after the season ended, Spencer said it took him a while to "make peace" with his fall on the 49ers' depth chart."Early on, it was like a high school kid who was dating a girl all through high school, then his senior year he sees her with another guy," Spencer said. "I've been on that right corner since I got here, so for me it was like seeing your lady with another guy."My brother told me, 'There's plenty of women out there.' He said, 'Move on, continue to work and just get better so when you get that next opportunity, it'll be all right.'"Spencer and his agent now have an opportunity to negotiate directly with teams that might need a veteran cornerback.Among the teams that could be interested are the Houston Texans, whose defensive backs coach, Vance Joseph, coached Spencer six years with the 49ers; Seattle Seahawks, whose secondary coach, Kris Richard, played with Spencer with the 49ers in 2005; and the St. Louis Rams, another NFC West team whose secondary needs strengthening.