Englewood, Colo. — John Elway and the Denver Broncos wanted George Paton as the team’s new general manager so badly that Paton got a longer contract than Elway.
Paton, who has spent the last 13 years with the Minnesota Vikings, has accepted a six-year contract as the Broncos’ general manager, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The Broncos announced the hiring of Paton on Wednesday, but did not disclose the terms.
Paton spent most of Tuesday in Denver where he had his second meeting with team officials and returned to Minnesota Tuesday night.
OFFICIAL: We have negotiated with George Paton to become our new General Manager.
– Denver Broncos (@Broncos) January 13, 2021
Elway promised to find the best candidate, the best person for the job. The Broncos also interviewed New Orleans Saints assistant general manager Terry Fontenot, Chicago Bears assistant director of player personnel Champ Kelly, New England Patriots’ Dave Ziegler and Broncos scout director Brian Stark.
Early in the process, it became clear why George was a coveted GM candidate for so long. He is a proven evaluator who knows all the details of managing football operations, Elway said in a statement. With experience in all aspects of the job – academic and professional, salary, appeals, working with the head coach and bringing staff together – George is more than prepared to succeed in this role. George waited and worked hard to get the right chance, which shows he is smart and serious about winning. We are pleased to announce the appointment of George Paton as General Manager of the Denver Broncos.
Paton and Fontenot, who were virtually interviewed because the Saints are still in the playoffs, were interviewed for the second time Tuesday.
Elway, who has been the Broncos’ football general manager since 2011, announced on 4. Janvier announced that he would be stepping down from day-to-day personal activities, but would remain president of football until the final year of his current contract.
Elway also said he doesn’t think the current battle over ownership of Pat Bowling Kids will affect the Broncos’ ability to find what he believes is a better candidate. Mr. Paton’s six-year deal will likely serve as a bridge to a possible change of ownership for the team in the coming years.
Paton has control over the team roster, free agency and selection. The Broncos have missed the playoffs five straight times since winning Super Bowl 50, finishing 5-11 last season.
The team will have to make a decision on the contracts of linebacker Von Miller and Kareem Jackson, and the team will add Pro Bowl safety Justin Simmons as a free agent. Determining a plan from the quarterback position is also a major issue for the Broncos.
The team has one of the youngest teams in the league and has a salary cap sufficient to be competitive on the open market. Elway and the team’s president and CEO, Joe Ellis, have promised in recent days that the new CEO will have resources to improve.
In many ways, I feel like this team is a sleeping giant. For me, this is the right place and time for this occasion, Paton said in a statement. … As hard as it is to leave the Vikings, the relationships I had in Minnesota were designed to last a lifetime.
added Mr. Paton: … The training and development of the actors is the first priority. We will be aggressive, but not reckless when it comes to adding talent to our team.
Over the years, Mr. Paton has been particularly selective in the appointment of Directors General. Paton was a finalist for the Cleveland Browns general manager position last year after Kevin Stefanski left for Cleveland but withdrew his name on lap 24. January 2020, two days after his arrival for a face-to-face interview, out of the race.
Paton has also been sought by Green Bay, San Francisco, the Los Angeles Rams and the New York Jets for a job in Detroit – this round and earlier when the Detroit Lions hired former executive director Bob Quinn.
Paton is widely regarded as one of the top Viking talent evaluators, and his departure from Minnesota created a big void in the front office. Ryan Monnens, the current director of Pro Scouting, could replace Paton this season.
Courtney Cronin of ESPN contributed to this report.