According to the Denver Broncos, they have finalized a six-year deal with soon-to-be former Minnesota Vikings Assistant General Manager and VP of Player Personnel, George Paton, to be the team’s new General Manager.
Just last week, John Elway stepped down from the team’s General Managing position and promoted himself up within the Broncos organization. The team then began setting out to find and interview potential replacements for Elway. They settled on five candidates. George Paton, the Bears Champ Kelly, the Saints Terry Fontenot, the Patriots Dave Ziegler, and the Broncos own Brian Stark. The final two candidates ended up being Paton and Fontenot, but in the end, the Broncos decided to hire Paton.
Paton spent a total of 14 seasons with the Vikings organization and has been Rick Spielman’s right-hand man for a majority of that time. He has been a popular man when it comes to interviewing for General Managing positions for the past decade or so but has ultimately decided that no job was the right one and stayed with Spielman and the Vikings. Now, the Broncos have finally lured him away to be their General Manager.
NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero recently spoke with Denver Broncos own Aric DiLalla and he said that Paton is ‘is one of the most universally respected personnel men in the entire NFL’.
“George Paton is one of the most universally respected personnel men in the entire NFL. [He’s] somebody who — whether you talk to people who are friends with him, people who have competed against him, people who just know him from scouting on the road — nobody has a bad word to say about him. ... Certainly, there are not many people that I can think of who’d be better equipped to be a GM, which — considering that George has been pursued for, I don’t even know, a dozen or so GM jobs over the past seven or eight years, probably — is not a surprise.”
Pelissero also highlights Paton’s draft resume with the Vikings. He was heavily involved in the scouting and personnel department of that team that has drafted and signed some of the better players in the NFL right now.
“George does college trips. He does spend time on the road. He’s also obviously heavily involved in personnel and worked hand in hand with Rick Spielman on a lot of different things. That’s kind of the brain trust on the personnel side, along with Rob Brzezinski, who handles a lot of the business [and] salary cap matters. Those are the guys who have been in charge of Minnesota for a long time. If you look at the Vikings’ draft record, the number of Pro Bowl picks that they have found, the number of young, ascending players, whether you look up and down the defense that through the years, I can list all of them off, I mean of the guys still there: Harrison Smith, Eric Kendricks, Anthony Barr, Danielle Hunter; of guys that have moved on through the years: obviously Everson Griffen, Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes. They’ve had really good players. And offensively, signing Adam Thielen off of a tryout, drafting Stefon Diggs, drafting Justin Jefferson now, drafting Dalvin Cook, who fell to the second round because people weren’t comfortable with him, and the Vikings did all the extra homework and got comfortable with him. That’s not all George, but he’s had a hand in that entire process. So, absolutely. Everything you can think of [that] you need a GM to do, George has been involved with it in some capacity in Minnesota, which makes him a really impressive candidate for other teams to consider.”
Paton is being handed a young offensive roster that appears to be on the verge of turning into one of the stronger units in the league. However, he has some tough decisions to make moving forward with the team. First, will be the contracts on Von Miller and Justin Simmons.
Von is on the tail end of his career and is coming off missing the entire 2020 NFL season. Will Paton decide to move on from John Elway’s first draft selection? Or pick up Von’s option and keep him with the team for one more year?
With Simmons, I think it’s a much easier decision. Paton knows what an All-Pro safety means to a defense(he had Harrison Smith in Minnesota) so keeping Simmons with the Broncos has to be a priority. I don’t think we see Simmons leaving town.
After that, there are some high priced veterans who could be cap casualties. Those players being defensive lineman Jurrell Casey, cornerback A.J. Bouye, and safety Kareem Jackson. Will he decide to move on from one, two, or all three of these veterans and clear up a good amount of cap space? It could go either way.
Finally, we have the quarterback position. Will Paton be all in on Drew Lock like John Elway was? Or will he decide to go his own route and bring in a veteran or a draft pick to be that guy? Could we see him move on completely from Lock? It could either way and will be something we will talk about heavily in the coming weeks and months of this offseason.
In the end, I like this hire by the Broncos. Paton most likely would have had a General Managing job years ago if he wanted it so, having him finally decide to choose the Broncos has to have us feeling good about the future of our Franchise. I am excited to have a fresh new set of eyes running this organization. Elway brought some life and success to this team, but the last five years have been rough and change was needed. I am excited to see who Paton brings to fill out his Front Office as well. Either way, these are exciting times for the Broncos franchise and I am excited to see what the future holds for us.
John Elway comments on George Paton being hired as the Broncos General Manager
“George has waited and worked for the right opportunity, which shows that he is smart and serious about winning.”— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) January 13, 2021
Pres. of Football Operations John Elway on our new GM George Paton: pic.twitter.com/6hlZb2YHDX
Broncos new GM George Paton releases a statement.
“I feel like this team is a sleeping giant. For me, it is the right place and the right time for this opportunity.”— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) January 13, 2021
Statement from our new GM George Paton: pic.twitter.com/qkyZnbPY3x
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