ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — With quarterback Peyton Manning now expected to be sidelined for at least two games, the Denver Broncos signed Christian Ponder to give themselves depth at the currently thin position Tuesday morning.
The team announced the move on Twitter, saying Ponder, who has typically worn John Elway’s retired No. 7 throughout his career, will instead wear No. 2 with the Broncos.
It was expected that rookie Trevor Siemian, who impressed the Broncos in training camp on the way to winning the team’s No. 3 quarterback job this offseason, would remain the backup to Brock Osweiler, with Ponder being added as a security policy.
Ponder was a standout at Florida State, leading the Minnesota Vikings to select him with the 12 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. He became the team’s starter midway through his first season and led them to a playoff appearance in 2012, throwing for just under 3,000 yards with 18 touchdowns and 12 interception while running for an additional 253 yards with two scores in his only full season as an NFL starter.
But in 2013, Ponder lost his starting job partly due to injuries and partly due to poor play, and he ultimately became the Viking’s third-string quarterback in 2014 after the team drafted current starter Teddy Bridgewarter.
The Vikings chose not to re-sign Ponder when he became an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and he signed with the Oakland Raiders to compete for the backup job behind Derek Carr.
Ponder was cut by the Raiders when he lost that competition to Matt McGloin. He has been a free agent ever since.