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Mason's Mailbag: February grab bag

You can tweet questions to me with the hashtag #AskMase or use the submission form to your right (if you're viewing on a standard browser) or at the bottom of the page if you're on the mobile site.

Who watches the Pro Bowl? Fans of teams already eliminated want their distance and are looking towards free agency and the draft, and fans of the Patriots and Eagles have their eyes set on the Super Bowl. I have always loved how the All-Star Game in baseball is made more meaningful by dictating home team of the World Series. What do you think of the idea of having the Pro Bowl victor being the first tiebreaker for draft order? This has the added benefit of appealing exactly to the fans (and players!) who care most and gives 30 of 32 teams' fans a real reason to care and a stake for players as well.

-- Paul B.

According to reports this week, 8.6 million people, a 14-percent increase over last year -- that's who watches it. So obviously there is some level of interest in the game.

As for your idea ... I only like using the Pro Bowl as a replacement for the coin flip such as the one that will break the draft-pick deadlock between the 49ers and Raiders, who are deadlocked on strength of schedule. The Pro Bowl result is basically as a random as the coin toss, so why not? But as for it being the first tiebreaker, rather than strength of schedule -- I disagree.

First, let's be pragmatic and look at it in the short term. Since you're here, I assume you are a Broncos fan. This year, the current draft-pick tiebreaker helped the Broncos, pushing them to the No. 5 slot in the draft. It also helped them get the Senior Bowl coaching gig, allowing them to receive some extra information into a significant chunk of the draft class. Why would you want something that would have negated all that?

As for baseball -- the concept of having the All-Star Game determine home-field advantage lost its luster to the point that it was ditched after the 2016 All-Star Game. As an avid enthusiast of the sport, I am thankful. I grew to despise the idea of having home-field advantage potentially come down to a starting pitcher from a 65-97 team working in a relief appearance against a pinch hitter from a 71-91 squad.

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How do you see Alex Smith being traded to Washington and the now definite availability of Kirk Cousins affecting the Broncos' path to solving their QB issues? Does the reported Smith extension mean anything for negotiations with Cousins? I wouldn't think Cousins could ask for any more than what Smith got. Would you?**

-- Dylan Conner

I don't think it has much of an effect. As I discussed on Orange and Blue 760, I did not expect Cousins to return to Washington, simply based on my reading of the situation even before this week's reports. I also did not think the Chiefs would trade Smith within the division. The only thing that is altered by what broke Tuesday night is the fact that teams can start formulating their plans with a bit more knowledge of the situation; it would not surprise me if as much as 25 percent of the league's teams have interest in Cousins.

It is probably unwise to assume what Cousins will ask for if he gets a chance to hit the open market. That said, the comparisons between the two are fascinating, as they have similar recent production levels. Over the last three seasons, they rank sixth and seventh in passer rating, with Cousins at 97.5 and Smith at 97.2. Cousins has the superior touchdown rate, completion percentage and yardage per attempt; Smith has the better interception rate and is a more productive runner, averaging 5.14 yards per carry (although Cousins actually has more rushing touchdowns, holding a 13-8 edge there). Really, the only difference in determining contract value is age -- Smith is 33; Cousins is 29.

What do you think about the idea of the Broncos trading for Nick Foles after the Super Bowl?

-- Thomas Trandal

It always takes two to make a deal, and if you are the Eagles, why would you trade Foles unless some other team makes an offer that likely exceeds reasonable market value?

Carson Wentz's rehabilitation timeline could take him right up to the start of the 2018 regular season, and with Foles around, the Eagles do not have to rush Wentz back; they know they have a quarterback with whom they can win. Furthermore, Wentz is still on his rookie deal, so they do not have any cap issues created by carrying the contracts of Foles and Wentz into 2018.

The analysis, opinion and speculation in this story represents that of the author, gathered through research and reporting, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Denver Broncos organization.



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