John Elway reportedly thought about firing Vance Joseph and replacing him with Mike Shanahan

Broncos general manager John Elway thought about replacing Vance Joseph during the 2017 season and replacing him with Mike Shanahan, reports longtime Denver columnist Woody Paige, now writing for Gazette.com. NFL.com's Ian Rapoport confirms the reports, tweeting what he's heard:

This meshes with what CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reported back in January; Joseph's status in Denver was touch and go for the final few weeks of the 2017 regular season as speculation about his job security became a daily talking point. But Elway announced that Joseph would return for another season though Jason La Canfora noted that the general manager "went back and forth on the decision."

In a statement posted to Twitter on Jan. 1, Elway said, "Vance and I had a great talk this morning about our plan to attack this offseason and get better as a team. We believe in Vance as our head coach. Together, we'll put in the work to improve in all areas and win in 2018."

Joseph was hired before the 2017 season and after a 3-1 start the Broncos lost eight straight and finishing 5-11. This season has been better but Denver endured a four-game losing streak that dropped them to 2-4. But they were 3-6 heading into their bye when Elway offered assurances about Joseph's immediate future.

"At this point in time, we're going to stay the course," the told Denver's KDSP-AM in early November. "I think there's enough good things that are going on as far as us and the way that we're playing ... I'm much more encouraged this year than I was last year."

The Broncos are 3-2 since their bye, including wins over the Chargers and Steelers. But with back-to-back losses to the 49ers and Browns, Denver has been eliminated from the postseason, which means that Joseph's job could again be in danger. 

Shanahan, meanwhile, is 66 years old and hasn't coached since the 2013 season, when he led the Redskins to just three wins. Of course, his best stint came in Denver where in 14 seasons he won 138 games and two Super Bowls with Elway. 

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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