Shawntae Spencer signs 6 year, $12 million deal

Shawntae Spencer

The 49ers have locked up former Panther Shawntae Spencer until 2012 with a contract that was leaked overnight. Spencer has been one of the best young players on a team full of young players and full of Panthers:

Cornerback Shawntae Spencer agreed to a six-year contract extension with the San Francisco 49ers on Wednesday night, a team source said.

The source, speaking on condition of anonymity because Spencer wanted to keep the deal quiet, said the third-year pro signed an extension keeping him with the club through 2012.

The deal is worth more than $12 million in total salary, but the amount of his signing bonus wasn’t immediately available.

Despite being a leader on the field for the young defense and having career highs last year, Spencer seems to be staying grounded. Great to see a Pitt product doing things the right way and being so successful:

Spencer, a second-round pick in 2004, has been the best player in the 49ers’ much-maligned defensive secondary over the last three seasons. He started 26 games in his first two years, immediately earning a key role for a club that won just six games in that period.

The former Pitt star had career highs of four interceptions, 76 tackles and 14 passes defensed last season, also scoring his first touchdown on a 61-yard interception return against Tennessee. He has been solid again this season despite a hamstring injury that kept him out of three exhibition games.

But the low-key cornerback prefers to stay out of the spotlight. Perhaps that’s why Spencer never mentioned the deal while speaking with reporters earlier Wednesday.

“It takes time when you get a new scheme. We’re not going to learn it overnight,” Spencer said of the 49ers’ new approach on defense. “The longer you’re in a scheme, the more you’re comfortable with it. … All around as a team, we’re better. We’ve progressed a lot from last year. We’ve got a lot better understanding, and we can play faster.”

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