The Denver Broncos’ season is over, free agency is right around the corner, and it’s time to start debating who the Broncos need to prioritize re-signing.

Unfortunately, there might not be much debate this time around, as Dre’Mont Jones and Alex Singleton each comfortably belong in tiers of their own. Jones is a burgeoning star at a valuable position where the Broncos have minimal depth, and Singleton received All-Pro votes this season for his work at inside linebacker.

However, Pro Football Focus disagrees that Denver’s free-agent discussion is so clear cut, as they highlight Dalton Risner as the ‘one free agent they can’t afford to lose‘.

“Denver will be looking to make a few additions along the offensive line this offseason, but the first order of business should be to take care of in-house business and bring back Risner,” PFF’s Brad Spielberger wrote. “He earned his second consecutive pass-blocking grade above 70.0 to go along with a 65.7 pass-blocking grade on true pass sets that ranked 22nd among guards. He offers a very high floor as a pass protector, and while he can stand to improve in the run game, his consistency in keeping his quarterback clean can’t be understated.”

Now, while it’s true the team could certainly do worse than Risner and that maybe the devil you know is preferable to the one you don’t, it’s impossible to deny that the Broncos could also do a lot better. Outside of Cushenberry, who’s practically been exiled from the roster it feels, Risner has been the team’s worst starting lineman in each of the past two seasons, and therefore, is the most pressing need outside of center. It should also be noted that Risner is the team’s third-best guard presently, with Graham Glasgow and Quinn Meinerz leading the way.

Even if you believe Risner should return to the Denver Broncos, which is entirely fair, it’s hard to say that’s more important than re-signing Dre’Mont Jones or Alex Singleton. The NFL free agent market will tell you as much in a month-and-a-half. Because of the demand for free-agent offensive linemen, Risner’s deal might outpace Singleton’s, but there isn’t a chance that it outpaces that of Jones, thus demonstrating that Jones is the more valuable commodity.

Maybe you could dismiss that if the Broncos were stacked along the defensive line, but if Dre’Mont Jones leaves, they’ll be left with D.J. Jones and no one else that’s proven to be an above-average starter.

Even PFF knows this, as they ranked Dre’Mont Jones as the Denver Broncos’ best free agent in their top 50 free agents article, authored by the same analyst. Jones ranks 20th overall, while Risner ranks 48th. The gap between Jones and Risner is greater than the gap between Jones and Lamar Jackson.

How can you highlight such a gap between the two, and then argue that the lesser player at a position of lesser value is the one they can’t let walk? Especially when the Broncos look stronger at guard than they do along the defensive line.

Ultimately, you know the truth. The Denver Broncos cannot allow Dre’Mont Jones to leave the building this off-season, and everything else is secondary.