Sakamoto: 49ers sign QB Christian Ponder To 1-Year Deal, Place Thad Lewis On Injured Reserve


Just one day after San Francisco 49ers HC Chip Kelly announced the news that QB Thad Lewis was lost for the season, the team went ahead and signed journeyman QB Christian Ponder to a one-year deal. The former first-round pick (No. 12) in the 2011 NFL Draft, Ponder was selected just two picks behind 49ers current starter QB Blaine Gabbert.

At 6-2, 229, Ponder is the prototypical quarterback in terms of HWS (Height-Weight-Speed). However, like 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick the knock on him coming out of Florida State, was his inability to read defensive concepts and pre-snap recognition. In turn, this diminishes the success rate of making proper reads. If Ponder can quickly grasp Kelly’s playbook while maintaining accuracy in the short-to-intermediate passing game, that may just peak his interest.

But in all honesty, it’s just a camp body at this point, as the real project Kelly wants to develop is sixth-round pick QB Jeff Driskel. To make room on the roster for Ponder, the team placed Lewis on the IR (injured reserve) list.

In 38 regular season games, Ponder has completed 59.8 percent of his passes for 6,658 yards, 38 touchdowns and 36 interceptions.

Ryan is the Founder/CEO of, 49ers Beat Writer, Live Game Day Correspondent for Bleacher Report and member of Pro Football Writers of America. Born and raised in San Jose, he also graduated from San Diego State University. His work has been featured on NFL Network, 95.7 The Game, National Football Post, Sports Illustrated, FanSided Network, ESPN Radio, CBS Sports 810, and NBC Bay Area News. For more information, please contact him via email at or call him at (408) 622-0996.