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Bears seem to have what Broncos want — a young promising QB in Mitch Trubisky

Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky played well against the Broncos in their joint practice. | David Zalubowski/AP

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Before Broncos general manager and Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway fielded a question about Mitch Trubisky, he answered two about the quarterback he drafted two years ago to change his franchise.

Reporter: “How do you think Paxton [Lynch] is taking on his new role as the No. 3 guy?”

Elway: “That’s always tough, but it’s also equal, too. We’re going to see Paxton against their thirds, too. It’s the same role; it’s just reversed. I hope Paxton takes advantage of it and goes out and plays well.”

Reporter: “If Paxton is not your backup, what does that mean for him down the road?”

Elway: “I’m not going to get into the hypotheticals right now. We’ll cross that bridge. We still haven’t played two preseason games yet. I’m not going to get into hypotheticals.”

Elway drafted Lynch with the 26th overall selection in the 2016 draft. After Peyton Manning retired, it was time to find the Broncos’ next franchise quarterback. Lynch, however, doesn’t look like the one.

The Broncos not only signed quarterback Case Keenum in free agency this year, but demoted Lynch to their third string behind Keenum and Chad Kelly, who was “Mr. Irrelevant” of the 2017 draft as the 253rd overall selection.

The point here is that teams always are looking for quarterbacks. They’re desperate for them. You either have one or you’re looking for one.


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The Broncos signed Keenum to a two-year, $36 million contract, including $25 million guaranteed, two years after taking a chance on Lynch, who had plenty of question marks coming out of Memphis.

The Bears, meanwhile, have a different situation unfolding after drafting Trubisky with the second overall pick in 2017, hiring an offensive-minded coach in Matt Nagy and using draft picks and money in free agency to build around Trubisky.

“I liked Mitch coming out,” Elway said. “I think he’s a young guy that I’m sure [now] that he’s in his second camp, and things are a little bit more clear . . . [he has a] good feel [after] having played as much as he played last year and going through his first year.

“I think that Mitch has got a lot of talent, that he’s got a chance to have a real successful career, and they continue to make strides. It’s always hard, and then they’re going through another offense. He’s put in a new offensive system that he’s got to get used to, too. [But] physically, he’s got all the tools.”

In other words, the Bears have a situation that Elway would seemingly love to have. There is a significant difference between trying to win with Keenum, who wasn’t re-signed by the Vikings despite going 11-3 and having a 98.3 passer rating as their starter, and building around a young first-round pick you firmly believe in on and off the field.

The Broncos drafted edge rusher Bradley Chubb with the fifth overall pick this year, opting to pass on quarterbacks Josh Allen (No. 7, Bills) and Josh Rosen (No. 10 Cardinals). But quarterbacks Baker Mayfield (No. 1,

Browns) and Sam Darnold (No. 3, Jets) already were off the board.

“It’s been a good week of practice and Case has had a good camp,” Elway said. “Hopefully, we dig in a little bit more this week and get off to a better start [in the preseason game Saturday].”

The Bears hope Trubisky will do the same, especially after the first-team offense’s struggles last week against the Bengals.

But again, there’s a difference in what Trubisky’s success means to the Bears compared to what Keenum, who is 30 and with his fifth team, accomplishes at this point. The Bears believe they’re building toward something beyond this season.

“No matter what it is, if it’s on the practice field, if I’m in the backyard by myself, if it’s a preseason game, we’re trying to get better and we’re trying to move the football,” Trubisky said. “That’s what great players do. That’s what great teams do.”

Elway would know.