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Broncos or bust? Jets, Browns both out on Kaepernick

It increasingly looks like it's Broncos or bust for 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Thursday on NFL Total Access that the Cleveland Browns exited the Kaepernick sweepstakes upon their decision to signRobert Griffin III. Additionally, Rapoport reported that the Jets are not pursuing Kaepernick despite their lingering free-agency stalemate with Ryan Fitzpatrick.

That leaves the Broncos as Kaepernick's last logical suitor, but don't expect the game of musical chairs to reach a brisk conclusion. Kaepernick's $11.9 million salary becomes fully guaranteed on April 1 and the 49ers do not plan to cut Kaepernick before that date, according to Rapoport.

That jibes with what 49ers coach Chip Kelly said this week at the NFL Annual Meeting. If the Broncos want Kaepernick, patience will be necessary. Rapoport said the Niners want a second-round pick in a trade and it's unclear if Denver general manager John Elway will play ball.

One way for the Broncos to sweeten the pot and potentially lower the pick compensation? Trade Pro Bowl left tackle Ryan Clady, who is expendable after Denver signed Russell Okung. Clady is coming off a torn ACL and has missed 30 games in the past three years, but would provide a huge O-line upgrade for the Niners if healthy.

Still, the big question is whether the Broncos believe Kaepernick can get his career back on track. Free-agent running back Reggie Bush, who played with him in San Francisco last season, believes the quarterback could rediscover the spark that once made him one of the NFL's most dynamic signal-callers.

"He's a true competitor, hard worker," Bush said Thursday on NFL Total Access. "Obviously, this year was tough for him with everything that happened. But I think he still has all the potential to get back to what he used to be."

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