Broncos expected to chase Kaepernick if Osweiler bolts

With the Texans operating as the "top contender" to steal Brock Osweiler away from the Broncos, the Super Bowl 50 champions have a backup plan in place if their young quarterback bolts.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday that Denver is expected to come after 49ers passer Colin Kaepernick if forced to start over under center, per a source informed of the team's thinking.

"If they lose Brock Osweiler to the Texans ... expect the Broncos to turn their attention to Kaepernick, to try to work out a trade with the 49ers," Rapoport said on NFL Network's Free Agency Frenzy. "There have been several teams sniffing around Kaepernick the last several days, but it is obvious that Osweiler is the big domino to fall here."

It's worth noting that Broncos general manager John Elway "has as close a relationship with (San Francisco's) Trent Baalke as with any GM" in the league, per Rapoport.

With the new league year set to launch Wednesday, the Broncos have a deal on the table for Osweiler that hovers around the three-year, $45 million mark. Denver, though, remains in a "staring contest" with the fifth-year signal-caller, per Rapoport, who said "with a strong offer, (the Texans) could come in and steal Brock Osweiler from the Broncos."

Denver fans might wonder why the team didn't get an Osweiler deal done sooner, but Peyton Manning's future clouded the situation. Osweiler also wants to find out what he's worth to a rash of NFL teams still searching for a solid young quarterback -- a scenario that could send the Broncos back to square one at the most important position in sports.

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