Denver Broncos’ general manager George Paton is in his second year as the GM of the Broncos. Should he already be on the hot seat? George Paton took over the Denver Broncos as the general manager after the 2020 season and immediately got to work.
Paton is a widely respected executive who had interviewed for roughly 10 GM positions in the past but ultimately wound up with the Broncos, calling the team a “sleeping giant” early in his career with Denver.
His first season was a mixed bag, but what stuck out the most was his stellar 2021 draft class, which includes Patrick Surtain II, Javonte Williams, Baron Browning, Quinn Meinerz, and Caden Sterns. Getting a whopping five starters from a single draft class is ridiculous.
Perhaps the best quality of Paton thus far has been his drafting. He’s been a bit of a mixed bag in his free agency endeavors. He’s most notably signed Randy Gregory, Ronald Darby, and DJ Jones.
Randy Gregory has missed games this year with a knee injury, so his start in Denver is not exactly what the team had hoped for, but I do find it puzzling that Paton gave Gregory $70 million given his injury history. Ronald Darby was another high-profile signing, and after this year, he’d have played in 16 out of a possible 34 regular season games.
So, another iffy signing there. DJ Jones was signed this past offseason, but the rush defense isn’t much better than it was last year, so I think the verdict is still out there. Other free agency moves include Tom Compton, Billy Turner, and Mike Boone. A bunch of ehh.
He’s also traded for Russell Wilson and Jacob Martin and has traded away Bradley Chubb. Perhaps the most important decision he’s made as a GM thus far was hiring Nathaniel Hackett, which appears to be a huge miss.
Overall, I think Paton has done a good, but not great job with the roster. I do think the Wilson trade will end up working itself out in the end, and I do think guys like Gregory and Darby who have been injured will end up living up to their contracts.
The hiring of Hackett I think was so astoundingly bad that the situation in Broncos Country appears at such a bad place that we haven’t seen before. Do I think George Paton is on the hot seat? No, not really, but I think the seat warmer has been clicked on into the “Low” setting.
With the new ownership group set in place, Paton now officially has people above him who hold his job in their hands. The next huge decision Paton will likely make, along with others in the front office is hiring a head coach to replace Nathaniel Hackett.
If they get that wrong, Paton is likely out of a job. At the earliest, I think we could see Paton lose his job after year four. I am not advocating for this by any means. In fact, I largely have confidence in Paton. My criticisms of him are rather small, but he’s well-respected within league circles and should figure this thing out.