Despite the unimaginable miracle run that saw the Denver Broncos wiggle their way into the 2011 NFL Playoffs, John Elway wanted no part of Tim Tebow leading his team onto the field in 2012. One must believe that. Regardless of the bizarre fashion in which that 2011 season played out, and the fact that Elway wants to win above all else, Elway knew what every other GM and coach in the NFL believed then and now – Tebow couldn’t play.

But talk about a rock and a hard place. Elway’s position was tricky at best. What he wanted to do would not be popular. Tebow’s antics had a city, a state, a region – even a nation – falling in love with him. What No. 15 brought to the party was fun, plain and simple. His unconventional way of playing debunked all conventional wisdom, and people loved it. Elway knew that, too.

Wiggling himself out from between that rock and hard place would require a miracle of his own: How could he do what he wanted without alienating fans that might have loved Tebow as much as they loved him? His miracle arrived in the form of Peyton Manning, perhaps the only man who could – even in the mind of even the most illogical Tebow fan – be an acceptable solution for Elway’s predicament.

He’d probably never say it out loud, but that was pressure for Elway.

This is nuthin.

As the 2016 NFL Draft approaches, Elway effectively has no quarterback. Sure, he’s saying all the right things with regard to the recently acquired Mark Sanchez, and he’s cordially complimentary about his ex-third-stringer Trevor Siemian. But if you believe for a second that Elway really wants Sanchez or Siemian to lead his defending Super Bowl champs onto the field against the Panthers on Sept. 8, he’d probably like to work a trade with you, too.

It’s a “situation” no doubt. And of all people, Elway values the quarterback position; he’s got an image of what it should look like. But this time around Elway holds a different kind of poker hand. He’s got the same (for the most part) defense that accomplished everything it needed to, all without the heroics of a competent signal caller. His offense could not be any worse – really it couldn’t. And his coach plays a brand of football that doesn’t require a Hall of Famer.

He’s also got San Francisco.

He says the Colin Kaepernick discussions are “dormant” – dormant like a snake that sits coiled in the tall grass, I say. Nothing has happened, but in reality, nothing has changed either. Denver still likes Kaepernick. Kaepernick would still rather be a Bronco than a ‘Niner. Demaryius Thomas has said he’s willing to restructure his contract to better the team. And the Franchise in the Bay is still dysfunctional at best. When the time is right, Elway still has the ability to strike.

Elway won’t go into the season without a quarterback that doesn’t offer either competence or upside – believe that. Or, if you’d like to extrapolate that further, he’ll go into the season with either Kaepernick or Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch.

If I had to bet, I’d bet on Kaepernick.

Consider that the cost – at least in terms of draft picks – of bringing Kaepernick to Denver is more than likely cheaper than landing Lynch. Considering that the Jets, Cardinals and Chiefs have all been linked to having some interest in Lynch, the Broncos are in no position to sit back and wait for their guy to fall to No. 31 in the draft. According to one Fox News report, the Broncos would need to give up a first-round pick, two third round picks and a fifth-round pick simply to move ahead of the Jets at No. 20.

That’s a pretty penny for a quarterback who is considered “third best” in a draft that most don’t consider to be extraordinarily rich with quarterback talent. It’s also a lot for Elway to give up considering that he often talks about being a team that’s not interested in short-lived spurts of excellence. Especially with one title in tow, Elway doesn’t have to mortgage too much of the future at this exact moment.

Back in early March, it was reported that San Francisco wanted a second rounder, but that the Broncos were only willing to give up a third. I’m no GM genius, but that sounds considerably cheaper than all the aforementioned picks Elway would have to give up to move up in the draft to get an unproven rookie. As a matter of fact, that’s a big margin in which Elway can operate if he still truly wants Kaepernick.

I believe he still does.

And, where there’s a will there’s a way

Especially when it’s an Elway.