Broncos late arrival to rebuild should cost George Paton his job

Could Sean Payton soon lead Denver's football operations department?

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The Denver Broncos won Super Bowl 50 almost 3,000 days ago. In the time since the Broncos have kicked the can down the road as far as they could regarding a rebuild, and after almost a decade of futility, quarterback purgatory, and a revolving door of head coaches, the Broncos are *finally* entering a rebuild.

The Broncos are late, however. The team spent the last two years desperately trying to make the Russell Wilson experiment work, and are now paying the price. Denver currently employs just Jarrett Stidham and Ben DiNucci as their quarterbacks, and are set to absorb an almost $55 million dead cap hit just to move on from Wilson. The Broncos' arrival to their rebuild is far too late, and their last-breath grasp at Wilson has made their road to recovery even more brutal.

The Broncos' main culprit for their issues is none other than general manager George Paton. While Paton himself might not have been the only force behind the move to bring in Wilson, what he put around the quarterback is the glaring issue. As far as offensively, Paton has made a few big splashes. He has done a good job of keeping internal talent in Denver but hasn't done much else. Mike McGlinchey and Ben Powers have been solid additions to the Broncos' offensive line, but neither played to what many had hoped they would in 2022.

As far as the defensive side of the ball, Paton has had his fair share of swings and misses. Most notably, Paton whiffed on pass rusher Randy Gregory, and corners Ronald Darby and Kyle Fuller, and failed to adequately address the Broncos' depth at multiple positions, including the defensive line.

Paton has drafted fine, but arguably his most important class, the 2022 class after trading his first-round selection for Russell Wilson, has been mostly a dud. Nik Bonitto figures to be a solid rotational rusher, a 2nd or 3rd best option, but TE Greg Dulcich cannot stay on the field, corner Demarri Mathis is borderline unplayable, DL Eyioma Uwazurike is currently suspended by the league for gambling, and all other draft picks from that year are either off the team or have been non-factors. The main key here is center Luke Wattenberg, who will compete in camp to be the Broncos starting center next season. If he can win the job and play decently well, Paton's job in 2022 looks somewhat better.


Overall, Paton's key swings and misses have outweighed some decently sized victories he has had. Ultimately, Paton is likely on his last life in Denver. Three seasons in, Paton hasn't had a winning campaign and the team seems to be entering a rebuild. It feels safe to assume the Broncos won't put together a winning season in 2024, which would mean all four seasons under Paton's initial contract will be losing campaigns. Ultimately, this will cost Paton his gig in Denver and will push Denver in a new direction at general manager.

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