49ers release cornerback Shawntae Spencer

By JANIE McCAULEY - AP Sports Writer
    2012-03-15 14:18

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) - Shawntae Spencer became the odd man out in San Francisco's secondary.

The 49ers released the cornerback Thursday after he spent eight seasons with the team. Also Thursday, free agent wide receiver Mario Manningham was visiting the Niners, a person with knowledge of the meeting confirmed to The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because it wasn't made public.

Manningham caught a 17-yard touchdown pass from Eli Manning with 8:34 remaining in regulation of the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants' 20-17 overtime win over San Francisco in the NFC championship game Jan. 22 at Candlestick Park.

The 25-year-old Manningham had 39 catches for 523 yards and four touchdowns last year in his fourth NFL season.

If the 49ers add Manningham, they would have quite the dynamic receiving corps after signing Randy Moss on Monday to join Michael Crabtree and tight end Vernon Davis.

Quarterback Alex Smith is expected to re-sign soon with the 49ers and has said he is weighing a three-year contract offer.

The 30-year-old Spencer started every game in 2009 and 2010 but appeared in only nine games with no starts for coach Jim Harbaugh and the NFC West champions last season.

On Tuesday, the 49ers signed cornerback Perrish Cox. They also have agreed on a new $31.3 million, four-year contract with Pro Bowl cornerback Carlos Rogers.

San Francisco selected Spencer in the second round of the 2004 draft, out of Pittsburgh. He has 345 career tackles, 11 interceptions, three forced fumbles and a touchdown in eight NFL seasons.