San Francisco

Pay Cut Stands in Way of Broncos Nabbing 49ers Quarterback Kaepernick

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick met with Broncos General Manager John Elway at Elway's Denver home last week to talk about restructuring his contract as part of a trade with the San Francisco 49ers, a person with knowledge of the meeting told the Associated Press.

The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the talks, said they met Thursday, the same day Kaepernick's $11.9 million salary for this season became guaranteed.

The San Francisco Chronicle first reported the meeting, the second in two weeks between Elway and Kaepernick, who has been recuperating in Colorado from several surgeries.

The Broncos are hoping to persuade Kaepernick to restructure his contract so he can serve as Peyton Manning's replacement in Denver rather than Blaine Gabbert's backup in San Francisco in 2016.

Because he wasn't released or traded before Thursday's deadline, Kaepernick doesn't have to accept anything less than $11.9 million next season.

But the Broncos offer the chance to start for the defending Super Bowl champions with a stellar defense led by Von Miller, an improved offensive line bolstered by Russell Okung and a stellar ground game led by C.J. Anderson.

The teams would have to agree on draft pick compensation.

The Broncos have less than $2 million in cap space and would have to do some more financial maneuvering to make room for Kaepernick. They could gain some more room by trading or releasing left tackle Ryan Clady, who's due $9.5 million in 2016 and missed all of last season with a torn ACL.

The Broncos, who lost Manning to retirement and Brock Osweiler to Houston in free agency, traded for Mark Sanchez and have 2015 seventh-round draft pick Trevor Siemian on their roster.

Kaepernick has been recovering from surgeries in Vail, Colorado, on his right thumb, his left knee, and on his non-throwing left shoulder to repair a torn labrum, which landed him on season-ending injured reserve after he lost his job last fall to Gabbert, a 2011 first-round draft pick.

Gabbert took over in November for the benched Kaepernick, who completed just 59 percent of his passes with six touchdowns, five interceptions and a 78.5 rating before losing his job.

Kaepernick went 2-6 in eight starts last season before being benched, raising questions whether the quarterback who guided the 49ers to a runner-up Super Bowl finish following the 2012 season was still the best option under center.

New 49ers coach Chip Kelly said last month he had spoken recently to Kaepernick and was hopeful the mobile quarterback would still be on San Francisco's roster when the offseason program begins this coming Monday. It's unclear whether Kaepernick will be cleared to be in attendance on Day 1 — and the offseason program isn't required.

The Broncos' offseason program doesn't begin until Aug. 18.

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