San Francisco 49ers Sign Christian Ponder, Quarterback Depth A Concern

San Francisco 49ers head coach Chip Kelly knows that he is going to need some bodies at the quarterback position if he wants his first year with the franchise to not be a disaster. According to Niners Nation, San Francisco has signed Christian Ponder. The Niners desperately needed depth because of various injuries.

Colin Kaepernick was supposed to compete with Blaine Gabbert to see who would be the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. That competition has not really gotten off because Kaepernick is having issues with his throwing arm. Gabbert has been given most of the snaps during training camp.

The San Francisco 49ers were hoping that Thad Lewis would be their third quarterback. Unfortunately, though, the former Duke Blue Devils star tore his ACL and will be required to miss the entire season. That was a big loss for the Niners because they had planned on using Lewis as a backup in case Blaine Gabbert or Colin Kaepernick was traded.

During the NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers spent a sixth-round pick on Jeff Driskel. Management knew that he was a project that needed some seasoning. Driskel proved that by only completing four of his 12 passes during the first preseason game against the Houston Texans.

With Blaine Gabbert as the only healthy quarterback on the roster, Chip Kelly knew that he needed at least another warm body, even if it is to just get through the preseason. A call was made to Christian Ponder, and the two sides decided to work together.

Fortunately for the San Francisco 49ers, Christian Ponder does have some experience as a starting quarterback; both in the NCAA and the NFL. The 28-year-old started for the Florida State Seminoles from 2008 to 2010. Ponder then started for the Minnesota Vikings from 2011 to 2013.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Blaine Gabbert
Blaine Gabbert [Photo by Thearon W Henderson/Getty Images]

Signing Christian Ponder is a low-risk move for the San Francisco 49ers. While full details of the contract have not yet been released, there are those saying that it is simply a one-year deal. There is probably very little to no guaranteed money involved as there might be a chance that Ponder would be gone when Colin Kaepernick returns to health.

Interestingly enough, there is a connection between Christian Ponder and Blaine Gabbert. Both were chosen during the NFL Draft in 2011. Gabbert was chosen with the tenth pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Ponder was chosen with the 12th overall selection by the Minnesota Vikings.

Christian Ponder had a promising start with the Minnesota Vikings. There was a point in time where people associated with the franchise were under the belief that the quarterback position was finally stabilized. Things did not work out, so head coach Mike Zimmer opted to go with Teddy Bridgewater instead.

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick
Colin Kaepernick [Photo by Michael B Thomas/Getty Images]

Even if Christian Ponder beats the odds and remains with the San Francisco 49ers during the upcoming regular season, do not expect to see huge numbers from the veteran quarterback. Chip Kelly intends to lean on the running game while he figures out how to make the passing game an asset.

With so much uncertainty surrounding the quarterback position and Anquan Boldin now with the Detroit Lions, expect the San Francisco 49ers to feature Carlos Hyde and Mike Davis quite frequently. Both running backs will see plenty of carries because Chip Kelly runs more plays than a typical NFL team.

The San Francisco 49ers are pretty realistic. They know that they are not going to be challenging for the Super Bowl this upcoming season. San Francisco also knows that Christian Ponder is not going to be the savior at their quarterback position. It simply is just a matter of getting through the season.

[Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]