Hiring Nathaniel Hackett as head coach
After deciding to part ways with Vic Fangio, Paton interviewed multiple candidates for the position. But the allure of landing Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, a rumor that had started around the draft in 2021, seemed to hard for him to ignore.
With that, Paton honed in on and ended up hiring Nathaniel Hackett, the offensive coordinator of the Green Bay Packers. This was done, many believe, as a way to get Rodgers to come play in Denver too.
But of course, that didn't happen. The Packers ended up signing Rodgers to a new deal and the Broncos were left with Hackett and Drew Lock at quarterback. Rather than seeing how that working relationship could blossom, the team then traded for Russell Wilson.
Hackett did not even get through his first year as head coach, becoming one of just four coaches in NFL history to be fired before their first year was complete. This led to Paton having to make another drastic move, trading draft picks to the New Orleans Saints to get Sean Payton back on the sidelines.
Though Payton is now facing scrutiny for putting his foot in his mouth about how bad Hackett was, he wasn't inaccurate with what he said. Hackett was one of the worst head coaches of all-time.