A Waste of Money
The coach [Mike Nolan] also said that the 49ers' salary-cap health made the move possible. The 49ers were believed to be about $10 million below the NFL's $102-million salary cap before finalizing the Spencer deal.
"We've gotten our cap situation in a light right now where we can help our football team out," Nolan said. "We haven't been in that situation much. But we're there now. ... I think this is an example of very good management."
Professional sports franchises that have been forced into frugal behavior and have made deals not with the mindset of finding good, undervalued players or valuing the players they do have properly but in the hopes these deals will cause the end of their frugality usually make unwise decisions once they find themselves able to spend more money on players. An example of this is the contract extension given to Shawntae Spencer by the San Francisco 49ers, a player who unless he has improved dramtically over last season is not worthy of being a starting cornerback for an NFL team let alone paid like a starting cornerback.
Football Outsiders charted defensive stats for all of the NFL players and put the data in their book, Pro Football Prospectus 2006 and Shawntae Spencer did not exactly measure up well to his cornerback peers. He was among the worst in pass stop percentage and allowed an average of 8.8 yards in pass plays where he was the intended target. Spencer is also uninvolved in stopping running plays.
This season Spencer does not look as if he has improved enough to warrant such confidence from the coaching staff. Since I have not watched either of the two 49ers games so far, I do not know exactly how he is played, but going by available game data, it has not been particularly awe-inspiring. He has made ten tackles an average of 11.2 yards past the line of scrimmage and only one of those tackles stopped the opponent from having a successful play so when receivers have caught the ball against Spencer, they are almost guaranteed a first down.
So no, signing him is not an example of very good management.