Colin Kaepernick, Denver Broncos missed out on each other

Jan 1, 2017; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) looks down field during the second quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at Levis Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 1, 2017; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) looks down field during the second quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at Levis Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports /

Free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick missed out on the Denver Broncos in 2016, and the Broncos missed out on Kaepernick…

Free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been the topic of discussion in the NFL now that the big player movement is over, and perhaps rightly so.

As teams begin installing offenses and going through OTAs, it’s becoming more and more apparent that Kaepernick isn’t being looked at as a legitimate starting quarterback option for anyone. Even teams that really need (or needed) quarterbacks passed on Kaepernick this offseason, and the prevailing assumption is that the reason for them passing is due to Kaepernick’s kneeling during the national anthem, and his public stances in general.

That wouldn’t be a very good reason depending who you ask, but there’s no question that Kaepernick’s public protesting last year is playing a role in his not being signed at this point. If you read what I wrote a couple of months ago, this is a 180 degree switch from what I previously felt, which was that NFL teams were waiting out the market at quarterback and Kaepernick was simply not the first domino to fall.

Kaepernick is finally getting his first team visit this offseason, traveling to Seattle to visit the Seahawks. The best case scenario there? Kaepernick could back up one of the top young quarterbacks in the NFL in Russell Wilson.

That’s not exactly the gig a 28 or 29 year old quarterback that has started in a Super Bowl and threw 16 touchdowns compared to just four interceptions last season would normally settle for.

Where did things go wrong?

I think things went south for Kaepernick when he made the decision not to take less money to play for the Denver Broncos in 2016, and I think the Broncos also made a mistake by sticking to perhaps an irrational salary number.

Talks with the Broncos were advanced enough last offseason that Kaepernick took a visit to the team and to John Elway’s home. He was checked over by the medical staff and it was reported that trade compensation between the Broncos and 49ers had been agreed upon.

It seemed like the major hurdles were cleared, but the issue of Kaepernick’s salary stood firmly in the way of him becoming the next starting quarterback of the Denver Broncos and the heir apparent to Peyton Manning.

The Broncos were fresh off of a Super Bowl win and with a dominant defense, they appeared to be Kaepernick’s best possible situation moving forward. Two Pro Bowl receivers and an aggressive general manager in John Elway had to be pretty enticing to Kaepernick, but in the end, he chose to stay in San Francisco and the Broncos chose not to budge on their price point for bringing him in.

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Instead, Denver drafted Paxton Lynch in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft, and 2015 seventh rounder Trevor Siemian was named starting quarterback.

Kaepernick split time with Blaine Gabbert in what amounted to a mess of a situation in San Francisco, which finished last season with the second worst record in the NFL. The Broncos’ offense sputtered along as they missed the playoffs with Trevor Siemian starting the majority of their games at QB, Paxton Lynch filling in a couple of times due to Siemian’s injured shoulder.

The 2016 season wasn’t nearly as good as it could have — and should have — been for either Kaepernick or the Denver Broncos.

Instead of throwing passes to Pro Bowl receivers Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, and orchestrating the Broncos’ offense, Kaepernick was running with one of the most talent-deprived teams in the NFL.

Whatever your opinions of his personal beliefs and protesting, I would argue that he would have been the best option at QB for the Broncos in 2016, and the Broncos provided a pretty ideal situation for him to re-shape his football image after two really down years.

Now, approaching the 2017 season, we’ll never know what could have happened had this marriage between player and team occurred. We may never know exactly why it didn’t happen and who is really at fault, either.

One way or another, it’s probably a situation both sides would look to do differently, and a situation where both really missed out.