Broncos Release QB Christian Ponder, Plan To Add Defensive Depth

The Denver Broncos released quarterback Christian Ponder and made a number of additional roster moves Tuesday. They may not be done yet. MHH Analyst Jake Marsing reports.

Christian Ponder may return to his regularly scheduled grocery shopping.

Ponder, signed by the Denver Broncos to provide emergency depth during their ongoing quarterback situation, had been in the middle of buying thanksgiving groceries for his wife when the Broncos called him off the couch less than three weeks ago. He can now finish his “honey do list.”

The Broncos waived Ponder on Tuesday and announced a slew of additional roster moves designed to bolster their lineup while they wait on seven injured starters to get out of the training room.

Ponder, the former first round pick of the Minnesota Vikings, had been signed by the Broncos to provide another option at quarterback while five-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning works his way back to the field from multiple injuries, including a torn plantar fascia in his left foot.

Signed ahead of Denver’s 30-24 upset victory of the New England Patriots, Ponder had not dressed for either game he was on the roster for, sitting third in the lineup between rookie Trevor Siemian and starter Brock Osweiler.

Ponder can place at least some of the blame for his release on Manning’s improving health. Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak said Monday he expects the league’s all-time leading passer to begin on-field work for the first time in nearly a month as soon as this Wednesday.  

The release of the 27-year-old Ponder leaves the Broncos with rookie Trevor Siemian as their only other quarterback expected to be active this weekend.

Ponder’s removal from the roster is a preemptive move in order to make room for the Broncos to add a player in the defensive backfield while safeties David Bruton and T.J. Ward recover from injuries.

Both players are dealing with serious lower body injuries and may not be ready to return to the field when Denver hosts the slumping Oakland Raiders this Sunday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The team will likely sign a defensive back in the next 24 hours.

In addition to waiving Ponder, the Broncos made two practice squad transactions Tuesday, releasing offensive tackle Antonio Johnson and adding offensive lineman Cameron Jefferson in his place.

Johnson had failed to gain traction on the practice unit since being signed to it on Sept. 29th, and no longer suited the needs of a Broncos team that has become increasingly dependent on athletic offensive linemen capable of opening up holes in the running game.

Meanwhile, Cameron Jefferson, a 6-foot-5, 317-pound guard provides tremendous upside for the Broncos and is a player that could be developed into an NFL starter in the near future.

Jefferson started 33 games at left guard and right tackle in college with the UNLV Rebels, and got work all across the offensive line after transferring to play with the Arkansas Razorbacks prior to the 2014 season.

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Jake Marsing in an Analyst for MileHighHuddle. You can find him on Twitter @JakeDMarsing. And be sure to like MileHighHuddle on Facebook

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