Broncos seem to commit to keeping G.M. George Paton, with one caveat

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With new ownership in Denver firing coach Nathaniel Hackett with two games left in his first season, the next question becomes what becomes of the man who hired Hackett — and who both traded for and paid quarterback Russell Wilson?

Is General Manager George Paton safe?

The statement issued by the Broncos implies that he is, with one caveat.

“I will lead our head coaching search with support from our ownership group and George [Paton], whom I have confidence in as our general manager,” CEO Greg Penner said. So Paton apparently is safe.

Unless he isn’t.

“Moving forward, we will carefully evaluate every aspect of our football operations and make whatever changes are necessary to restore this franchise’s winning tradition,” Penner also said.

How can the evaluation not include an objective analysis of the process that resulted in the hiring of Hackett, given that other candidates who were hired elsewhere have done inordinately better than Hackett? From Kevin O’Connell to Mike McDaniel to Brian Daboll, each are first-year, first-time NFL head coaches. And each have their teams in the mix for postseason play. (O’Connell’s Vikings clinched a spot nine days ago.)

Even Bears coach Matt Eberflus has at least looked the part for a team that was overmatched from the get go. The highlight came from the crafting of a game plan that dismantled the Patriots in their own building on a Monday night in October.

For Hackett, there really was no highlight.

Paton also made the trade that brought Wilson to town, compounding the blunder by signing Wilson to a massive contract before he ever even played in a game — and at a time when, surely, someone could have noticed that perhaps Wilson wouldn’t be the guy he’d been in Seattle.

If a careful evaluation of the football operations will indeed be conducted, it’s possible that the evaluation will cause Penner to lose his confidence in Paton. Another factor becomes whether Penner settles on a new coach who either wants his own personnel executive or intends to run the show himself.

34 responses to “Broncos seem to commit to keeping G.M. George Paton, with one caveat

  1. The guy who hired Hackett and made that trade? Start over! Hire a GM, who can hire his own coach.

  2. George Paton learned everything he knows about the NFL while working for the Vikings. And it shows.

  3. I still think elway passing on Q Nelson and Paton passing on Slater were huge mistakes. Yeah I know the broncos got surtain but they needed a tackle so badly in 2021. And now look at them, they can’t block

  4. I think they will hire a big name coach like Sean Payton and he will assume both GM and Head coach jobs.

  5. This is a warning to current General Managers and future ones. Relying on agents’ PR blitzes and the loudest talking heads’ favorite players ratings, remember the “let Russ cook” chants in the media?,to make decisions, though rewarding in the off season, never seems to end well.

  6. Probably not an easy sell for a coach or GM when you’re stuck with a QB who has played so bad that the team has bailed on him, and you have another year without first or second round picks.

  7. That’s a clue about how inept the new ownership is going to be. There not going to fire the guy who caused the mess.

  8. How can they keep him? He brought in both the coach and the QB. He is the one who ultimately holds responsibility for all of this. Think it’ll get better with him?

  9. The whole front office should be launched too–the contract Wilson signed after getting there should be the final nail in the coffin.

  10. Paton isn’t even kinda the problem. He made one mistake hiring Hackett, no more. The extension was owners entering the convo and wanting to sure up their QB. Funny how it’s only fans of other teams that want him fired.

  11. No big name coach like Sean Peyton is going to step into that mess. The Waltons need to fire everyone that was associated with the Russell Wilson deal bite the bullet and try to negotiate some kind of buy out of Russell’s contract. Then and only then are you going to get a Sean Peyton like coach but Peyton is going to want some control over the draft and player personnel.

  12. Was Hackett the answer. Probably not. But, he lost his job cause Russell Wilson is not who everyone thought. Who could have overcome god awful QB play.

  13. Even if he was interested, hiring Sean Payton would likely cost Denver their first round pick (from the Chubb trade) plus more to the Saints.

  14. Seems like less the one year to fix a program is not fair…. will Fritz Pollard Alliance make a statement…. Maybe Tony Dungy can chime in.

  15. Except that Payton has said his DC will be Vic Fangio. And I’m guessing Payton would have enough control to make it worth Fangio’s trouble, going back to Denver, particularly with new owners and a new GM.

  16. The Broncos have been chronically mismanaged for years. Since Bowlen first fell ill. New owners should just bulldoze current management chain into a ditch and start over from scratch.

    They didn’t interview nor hire any of these incompetents.

  17. Fresh start is needed, dump the GM and let the new one hire his choice of a HC. Face it you got duped into believing Wilson is the player he used to be. And you can’t get out from under his contract for years.

  18. It is quite Fortunate for Paton that Russell apparently has given his approval on the Temporary Extension of his employment with the Organization.

  19. People talking up Payton are no more competent at how to run a franchise than the Denver FO.

    Any team hiring Payton will own compensation to the Saints, almost certainly in the form of a #1 draft pick.

    Denver does not own a #1 pick.

  20. So Team Prez Damani Leech has to be the one backing Paton. He must not have an idea of a better GM out there. If Paton chooses the next coach, that is ANOTHER ill-advised long-term commitment by the Broncos. At least 2 years. So I guess they’re giving Paton 2 years to right the ship. Big companies tend to be slow-moving ships with bureaucracy’s in place that prevent swift changes.

  21. Between hiring Hackett and the horrific Wilson deal, Paton is guilty of gross malpractice. The new owners are stuck with the Wilson contract for now – but they should clean house with a new GM, new coaches, and to the extent possible a new offensive line.

    It will be an interesting off-season to watch.

  22. Wilson is one of those guys who needs a male mentor. Until last year, he’s always had one Without a mentor he’ll crash his career into the ground.

  23. hobbes says:
    December 26, 2022 at 4:03 pm
    People talking up Payton are no more competent at how to run a franchise than the Denver FO.

    Any team hiring Payton will own compensation to the Saints, almost certainly in the form of a #1 draft pick.

    Denver does not own a #1 pick.

    Know how to spot a Niners’ fan? Always certain, seldom right. It’s why their own front office felt it necessary to hand out instructions to the home crowd as to when to be loud and when to stay quiet.
    Miami dealt a 2023 first-round pick, a 2024 fourth-round pick and running back Chase Edmonds to the Denver Broncos in exchange for star linebacker Chubb and a 2025 fifth-rounder, fresh off the latter’s victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars in London.

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