Mason's Mailbag: At QB, what does it all mean for the draft?

Do you think there is any chance they could bring in a nose tackle like Michael Pierce from Baltimore? There is the possibility they extend his contract but if they don't and place, say, either a second- or third-round tender on him (being that he's a restricted free agent) do you think the Broncos would pay that for a dominant run stuffer of his caliber, especially being that he's only 26 years old?

-- Matthew Zachary Jr.

I don't see the logic in regards to the player you suggest. Why add Pierce at the potential cost or a second- or third-round pick when you can re-sign your own restricted free agent, Shelby Harris, and keep Zach Kerr to provide depth -- and not surrender a draft pick as part of the deal, or pursue other free agents from other teams that don’t require surrendering a pick? I don’t think Pierce is that much better -- if he's any better at all -- than the options you know from the last two seasons and do not cost you a draft pick.

What will it take to convince the personnel department that our weakest aspect of the team is our offensive line and that until that is fixed, or at least brought up to NFL standards, it won't matter who is quarterback and our offense will never be able to mount a consistent threat?

It's hard watching the same glaring weakness be ignored year after year.

-- Terry Rust

We haven't even gotten to the start of the new league year -- and the free-agency period with it -- and you seem to be operating under the assumption that the Broncos will not do anything on the offensive line. Let the free-agent and draft period play itself out, and let some of the younger players develop. As we've seen, few offensive linemen are ready to succeed right away; it can take years for them to reach cruising altitude in this league.

Furthermore, the Broncos' offensive line did play better last year than it did the previous two seasons, at least until injuries decimated the unit. In addition, you can go back to 2017 and see that the Broncos' top draft pick and most expensive free-agent signee were on the offensive line. The need for line improvement has hardly been an "ignored" issue. The unit has been a priority; it's just that some take time to develop (such as left tackle Garett Bolles) and others find their progress sidetracked because of injury (like Ron Leary).

You also have the addition of Offensive Line Coach Mike Munchak, who developed stout offensive lines in Tennessee and was responsible for a dramatic improvement in the Steelers' line -- particularly in pass protection -- when he joined them in 2014. This matters.

Will the Broncos use the franchise tag in 2019 and, if so, with what player?

-- James Cooksey

They still have two weeks to decide, but I don't expect it to be used this year.

Joe Flacco is a stud. If Baltimore would have put him in that last playoff game i think they would have won. You?

-- Trevor T.

While Joe Flacco -- for whom the Broncos will reportedly trade -- should improve the quarterback position, I disagree with the notion that he would have appreciably changed the Ravens' playoff outcome against the Chargers.

Baltimore's offensive problems in the first three quarters that day went deeper than Lamar Jackson's play at quarterback. Furthermore, if they don't leave Jackson in the game, do the Ravens come back and give themselves a chance at a game-winning drive in the final two minutes? I think the Ravens would have lost that day no matter who played quarterback.

Is Joe Flacco's job guaranteed, or is there still a chance Denver will draft a QB at No. 10?

-- Scott Thielemier

There is no such thing as a guaranteed job in the NFL. There is guaranteed money in contracts, but no guaranteed job. And in Flacco's case, per the reports of the trade to the Broncos, the guarantees in his contract would have already come and gone.

With the presumed addition of Flacco, do you feel the Broncos will and/or should still draft a QB in the first round?

-- Larry Weaver

The answer to your question depends on how the Broncos' football-operations department feels regarding this year's quarterback crop.

If they have a conviction that one of the potential first-round picks could be a long-term answer and a franchise quarterback, then the Broncos should do whatever it takes to get that player, even if it means trading up to ensure they can select him.

But the presence of Flacco, who will reportedly be dealt to the Broncos, ensures that if they don't see Dwayne Haskins, Kyler Murray, Drew Lock or Daniel Jones as a viable option, they can sit back and wait another year to what could be a robust class of first-round quarterbacks.

Flacco would give the Broncos options. But he would not take a first-round quarterback out of the mix.

Any chance the Cardinals want Kyler Murray? If they do, John Elway should get on the line and propose a trade; they draft Murray No. 1 and then we trade No. 10 to them for Rosen and their second-round pick and do not take anything less than that it would be a win-win! ... Sound good?

-- Ryan Hill

Even if the Cardinals were interested in Murray, if the Broncos didn't like Rosen enough to pick him last year when he was available at the No. 5 overall pick, what would have changed to compel them to trade a first-round choice for him now? Further, he did not definitively answer the question of whether he can succeed and be a long-term franchise quarterback during his rookie campaign.

And as new Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury told AZCardinals.com, "[Rosen] needs to understand we are in this together and I want him to know he kind of has the keys to the castle and let's build this deal as a group." That doesn't sound like a coach looking to trade his young quarterback.

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