George Paton heads to Denver for second GM interview with Broncos – The Denver Channel
DENVER — George Paton cemented his status as a slight frontrunner for the Broncos general manager’s job on Tuesday.
A source confirmed to Denver7 that he will travel to Denver today for a second interview, the first of the remaining candidates to reach this point. Paton, as outlined in previous stories, remains the most experienced of the candidates, which includes viable contenders Champ Kelly of the Bears and Terry Fontenot of the Saints. Brian Stark impressed in his Zoom talk, but it would be difficult for the Broncos to stay in-house when they have promised a “fresh set of eyes” in the GM chair.
Paton has served as an assistant GM for the Vikings for 14 years, leaving him ready for the next step. He has been patient in looking for the right fit, and has emerged as a strong candidate for the Broncos and Lions. He pulled out of the Browns GM search last year after his in-person interview, uncomfortable that the owner would not meddle. He was also a finalist in San Francisco when John Lynch paired with Kyle Shanahan.
So how would the Broncos land Paton, who has been selective, given the likelihood that president of football operations John Elway and CEO Joe Ellis will exit in March of 2022, and the unknown hangs over the ownership question?
In my opinion, it will require a strong commitment with the contract in terms of length and dollars. A five-year deal, for instance, could offer security to Paton in the face of uncertainty. He would also be arriving with the coach in place and has to be comfortable working with Vic Fangio, who will likely enter training camp on the hot seat after back-to-back losing seasons. However, the Broncos will give Paton the resources to succeed and are desperate to end their five-year playoff drought, tied for the second longest active streak in the NFL.
Remember, the Broncos are competing with the Lions. Minnesota GM Rick Spielman provided a glowing recommendation to his brother Chris, a former Pro Bowler, who is now a special assistant to the Lions president. Paton’s nephew Rob is a college scout for the Broncos.
Paton has remained loyal to Rick Spielman, but is this the year he makes the jump to run his own team? To get Paton, and really any new GM, the Broncos must provide the GM final say, independence and authority, which Ellis has indicated will happen as Elway will be consulted on big decisions, but not be part of the daily operations.
Talking to industry sources, they describe Paton as a strong personnel man, who has worked under the radar and has never sought media publicity. He has been part of a front office that boasts strong draft picks, including most recently running back Dalvin Cook, All-Pro receiver Justin Jefferson, and cornerback Trae Waynes, and undrafted free agent star receiver Adam Thielen.