Things in the NFL can change rather quickly. Back in March, folks were ready to build Denver Broncos general manager George Paton a statue. He had seemingly drafted one of if not the best players from the entire 2021 class in Pat Surtain II. He pulled off a trade to acquire star quarterback Russell Wilson. The Broncos seemingly had what they needed — they were considered by many teams to be a “quarterback away” and Paton delivered in just over a year on the job.
Over the last nine months, however, things have changed. They’ve changed for the worse, and things are so much worse than anyone anticipated that it’s now causing us to reevaluate really everything in Denver. The team is under new ownership with the Walton-Penner group. This ownership group just invested more money — $4.65 billion — in an American pro sports franchise than any other in history.
Denver Broncos regressing in 2022 could cost George Paton his GM seat
And here that franchise sits — 3-9, the laughing stock of the league, an embarrassment, the league leader in penalties, and the worst offense basically in modern football history (since 2000). What is that ownership supposed to do to get things right in Denver? Should they stick it out with the GM George Paton and head coach Nathaniel Hackett? Will a change at head coach suffice?
Just as much as evidence was piling up to build George Paton a statue back in March, evidence is now piling up against him for keeping his job beyond the 2022 season. I know that patience is not really a virtue many care to practice in Broncos Country, but the NFL is a results-driven league and this is a proud franchise with a rich history of winning.
And right now, the team is simply not doing that.
In some ways, it would seem completely irrational to fire George Paton. He’s considered one of the most trusted executives in the league and you certainly can’t fault him for being aggressive since he got to Denver. He’s made his mark on the franchise quickly and for better or worse, the next 3-4 years of Broncos football are going to be largely the vision of Paton and his staff.
The Broncos ownership group is soon coming to a crossroads. Although firing Paton seems somewhat unlikely at this point, the more the Broncos lose, the more it feels like it’s becoming a realistic option. What evidence is piling up against Paton at this point?