Christian Ponder: Denver Broncos Sign QB for Depth


Christian Ponder, former 2011 first-round pick, signs deal with Denver Broncos to become backup quarterback.

The Minnesota Vikings selected Christian Ponder with the 12th pick of the 2011 NFL Draft out of Florida State University. Christian Ponder spent the first four seasons of his career with the Vikings; however, he fell out of favor with management, prompting the team to select Teddy Bridgewater. With Bridgewater in the fold, the Vikings decided to part ways with Christian Ponder after the 2014 season, and Ponder signed a one-year deal with the Oakland Raiders in March of this year. The Raiders brought Christian Ponder in to be the primary backup for Derek Carr; however, after the final preseason game, the Raiders cut Ponder in favor of Matt McGloin.

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After being released by the Oakland Raiders in September, Christian Ponder remained without a job until the Denver Broncos signed him earlier this week. Christian Ponder gained interest from the Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, and Tennessee Titans; however, none of the aforementioned teams decided to issue the 27 year old quarterback a contract. With Peyton Manning suffering a partially torn plantar fascia, the Denver Broncos decided that it was time to pursue the free agent market to find a capable backup to Brock Osweiler; while, Peyton Manning remains on the shelf due to injury. The Broncos, ultimately, chose Christian Ponder to fill their void. 

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Christian Ponder assumes the second-string quarterback role for the short-term; however, once Peyton Manning returns to action, Ponder likely faces relegation to third-string. Barring an unforeseen injury to Osweiler, Christian Ponder looks to be an insurance policy for the Denver Broncos. Despite Christian Ponder struggling to find a job this season, he possesses solid numbers through the first five seasons of his career. Christian Ponder owns a 59.8 completion percentage across four seasons of action (has not registered a pass in 2015), with 38 touchdowns against 36 interceptions. Christian Ponder registered his best professional season in 2012, completing over 62 percent of his passes and throwing 18 touchdowns against 12 interceptions.

The Denver Broncos are in the midst of another playoff push in the 2015-2016 season; thus, it makes sense for the team to pursue an experienced backup quarterback in Christian Ponder. Christian Ponder seems to be the recipient of bad luck over the past couple season, and frankly, the Minnesota Vikings gave up on the former first-round pick too soon. In Christian Ponder’s rookie season (2011), the Vikings won just three games; however, the following season, Ponder led the team to 10 wins, the largest turnaround in franchise history. Thus, Christian Ponder provides the Denver Broncos with a low-risk, high reward type of quarterback to fill in if needed. The Vikings never quite gave Ponder the chance to succeed, so perhaps, he can regain some traction with the Broncos this season and find a job afterwards.

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Christian Ponder assumes the second-string role for the Denver Broncos immediately, and it remains to be seen when Peyton Manning returns to action. Manning did not travel with the Broncos last week, and he supposedly will sport a walking boot this upcoming week. Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak stated that Manning will miss, at least, the next two weeks (including Sunday’s matchup against the Patriots); thus, Kubiak felt the team needed to add a quarterback to the roster. In a subsequent move, the Denver Broncos placed Kenny Anunike on injured reserve. Christian Ponder grew up a fan of the Denver Broncos, wearing a John Elway jersey when he was younger, so the move to Denver presents a perfect match for Ponder.

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The Denver Bronco Nation welcomes Christian Ponder and family to the team, and we hope he provides a solid secondary option if ever needed. If anything, he adds veteran leadership to the Denver Broncos’ clubhouse. Look for Christian Ponder to suit up for the Denver Broncos on Sunday; however, it is unlikely he sees any time on the field. Brock Osweiler and company look to knock the Patriots off of their unbeaten start to the season and re-establish themselves as the team to beat in the NFL. The Patriots enter their matchup against the Broncos banged up, so the Broncos need to take advantage of an injured Patriots squad. The Broncos made a smart move signing Christian Ponder for the remainder of the season.