11:30am: After hosting him for a visit, the Broncos will sign quarterback Christian Ponder to a contract, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter). With Peyton Manning injured, but still on the active roster, the Ponder signing will give Denver four quarterbacks on its 53-man squad.
Ponder, 27, started 36 games during his four years with the Vikings, though he was essentially the team’s No. 3 signal-caller in 2014, behind Teddy Bridgewater and Matt Cassel on the depth chart. With a career 59.8% completion rate and 75.9 passer rating, Ponder didn’t find a very active market when he hit free agency this offseason — he ultimately signed with the Raiders, but was released by Oakland prior to the regular season.
With Manning sidelined in Denver for at least a couple more weeks, the Broncos will lean on Brock Osweiler as the starter and seventh-round rookie Trevor Siemian as the backup for now. As Rapoport explains (via Twitter), Ponder will start as No. 3 on the depth chart while he learns the offense, and could eventually move up to No. 2, but that’s not a given, since the Broncos like Siemian.
The Broncos put in a waiver claim on Jimmy Clausen this week, after the signal-caller was cut by the Bears. While the Ravens ended up landing Clausen, the fact that Denver submitted a claim suggested that the team wanted to add another veteran to the mix, with its only two healthy quarterbacks having combined for a single NFL start.