With Peyton Manning out for at least a couple more weeks, the Denver Broncos added to their quarterback depth by signing former first-round draft pick Christian Ponder, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
The Broncos made it official on Wednesday. Ponder was expected to be at practice that afternoon.
Ponder, 27, spent the offseason with the Oakland Raiders, battling Matt McGloin for the backup role behind Derek Carr, but was released at the end of preseason. He has since generated interest from a few teams, including the Tennessee Titans and Dallas Cowboys, but hadn't signed with a team since his release.
The Broncos are down a quarterback with Manning dealing with a partially torn plantar fascia, among other injuries, which will keep him out for at least the next two weeks. Even when he returns, he may not be the starter ahead of Brock Osweiler, who earned AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors in his first career start in Week 11.
Ponder is not expected to take over the backup role for the Broncos ahead of Trevor Siemian, a seventh-round rookie, who has made a good impression in his time with the team. Instead, Ponder will serve as the No. 3 quarterback, although it's possible he could climb to No. 2.
Jimmy Clausen, who was waived by the Chicago Bears earlier in the week, was also considered as an option by the Broncos and the team put in a waiver claim. However, the Baltimore Ravens were the other team to put in a claim for Clausen and were awarded his rights due to their inferior record.
Ponder spent four seasons with the Minnesota Vikings after he was selected in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft. He posted a 14-21-1 record as a starter with 38 career touchdowns and 36 interceptions.