Elway on Kaepernick: 'He’s had his chance to be here. He passed it'

Asked Thursday if the Denver Broncos would consider signing Colin Kaepernick as a veteran backup, general manager John Elway said the quarterback's opportunity to join the Broncos came and went in 2016.

"Colin had his chance to be here," Elway told reporters, referencing the Broncos' trade discussions with the San Francisco 49ers during the 2016 offseason. "We offered him a contract. He didn't take it. So, as I said it in my deposition (for Kaepernick's collusion grievance against the NFL) -- and I don't know if I'm legally able to say this -- but he's had his chance to be here. He passed it."

The Broncos and 49ers got far enough in trade discussions during the spring of 2016 that Kaepernick was allowed to meet with Elway. The GM reportedly asked Kaepernick to take a paycut of $12.4 million combined over the final two seasons of his deal, a six-year, $114 million pact that had been signed in 2014, and Kaepernick declined.

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No trade was ever made, as Denver went into training camp with a trio of Trevor Siemian, then-rookie first-round pick Paxton Lynch and Mark Sanchez, who was released during the team's final cuts.

That August, Kaepernick knelt in protest during the national anthem for the first time, during a preseason game. He played in 12 games that regular season for the 49ers before opting out of his contract in March of 2017, though many expected the team to release him if he did not opt out.

After going unsigned as a free agent through the fall of 2017, Kaepernick filed a collusion grievance against NFL owners in October. A number of owners, executives, coaches and other figures have been deposed as part of the grievance, which remains ongoing.

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Elway said in a radio appearance on Tuesday that the Broncos will consider signing a veteran quarterback this preseason, after Lynch was demoted to third string and 2017 seventh-round pick Chad Kelly was elevated to the No. 2 spot following the opener. When asked Thursday about the idea of signing a veteran, Elway said the team wants to see more from its two young quarterbacks before making any firm decisions.

"We'll wait through this week and see what happens after this week, and so we'll go from there," he said. "But I feel like we still have time. We'll let the young guys continue to take the reps and go from there."

Elway praised Kelly -- who went 14-for-21 for 177 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, for his play against the Minnesota Vikings on Saturday -- Kelly's first game action as a pro.

"You know I had a feeling he was going to play well," Elway said of Kelly. "He's a competitive guy, he's played a lot of snaps, he's instinctive. He took advantage of the opportunity that he had. ... He's got good instincts, and he deserved a chance to play with the 2s this week."

When asked about the future of Lynch -- who the Broncos traded up to draft in the first round in 2016 -- if he does not win the backup job, Elway declined to discuss hypothetical situations. Lynch, who went 6-of-11 for 24 yards and an interception in the opener, will play with the third team against the Chicago Bears on Saturday.

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--Field Level Media