I do think there is a decent chance that GM George Paton does not return to the Denver Broncos in 2024. Well, if that is the case, who replaces him? Two huge mistakes made by Paton have turned into fireable offenses. His first huge misstep was hiring Nathaniel Hackett to be the team's head coach in 2022.
He then followed that up by trading for Russell Wilson. Now to be fair, it's not like these were wildly unpopular moves that Paton made. He tried to fix the QB situation and offense with the acquisitions of Hackett and Wilson, and it didn't work. Paton was not the first GM to make a huge mistake, so he's not alone.
Well, with the recent benching of Russell Wilson and reports that the Broncos asked him to defer his injury guarantee, it does seem like that move could be the final nail in the coffin of Paton's tenure in Denver. Furthermore, Sean Payton does have final roster authority, and Paton might not want to be in that situation beyond this year.
So, who could replace him if he gets fired? Let's cover a few candidates.
Broncos Rumors: 3 potential replacements for GM George Paton in 2024
1. Ryan Pace, Director of Player Personnel, Atlanta Falcons
If you were looking for the most likely person to replace George Paton, I think Ryan Pace is the guy. Pace has been a GM before, serving in that role from 2015-2021 with the Chicago Bears. Pace had a respectable tenure with the Bears, peaking in 2018 when the Bears went 12-4 on the backs of an elite defense.
Pace worked his way up through the ranks with the New Orleans Saints, overlapping with Sean Payton from 2006-2014. Payton and Pace have worked together before, so they have a ton of familiarity with each other. And I think Pace being a GM before is also a huge plus. Right now, Pace is not a GM, so I do think he'd take the potential GM opening in Denver even if he does not get the final say on the roster.