George Paton's replacement should be his most notable hire

If George Paton is dismissed, could a man he hired take over for him?

Denver Broncos Introduce Sean Payton as Head Coach
Denver Broncos Introduce Sean Payton as Head Coach / Matthew Stockman/GettyImages

George Paton's time in Denver might be running out. Three years into his tenure, the Broncos are now embracing a full rebuild, and will likely not have a winning season over the life of Paton's original contract. As Paton is entering his fourth year, another failed season could be the end of Paton's tenure in Denver. If his time is to end, the immediate question becomes: who would replace Paton? While it might become incredibly controversial, only one man should be next in line for the head of football operations title, and that man is current head coach Sean Payton.

Sean Payton is just one season into his tenure in Denver, but if the team is set to move on from George Paton following the 2024 campaign, assuming it is another losing season, it would be the perfect time to slot Payton into a much larger role in the organization, and give him final say over all matters football operations.

We've seen this setup before in the NFL. Whether it was Bill O'Brien in Houston or Bill Belichick in New England, this setup has been attempted before. For O'Brien, his tenure in Houston did not end the best, but the Texans saw some success and the playoffs under the former head coach. As for New England, we all know the success that Bill Belichick had in his tenure and the numerous Super Bowl championships that he was able to bring back to Boston as a head coach and general manager.

It is already widely expected that the Broncos are giving final personnel say to Payton, which might even already give him a louder voice in the football operations office than general manager Paton. If Payton already has a louder voice than Paton, there is no need to bring in a new general manager if/when Paton is dismissed.

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At that point, allow Payton to take over, and bring in his head scouts, and fully run their own football operations department how they find best fit.