Despite being on their bye week, the Denver Broncos had an exciting week.
First-year general manager George Paton surprised and pleased Broncos Country by re-signing Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick. Both wide receivers sit at the top of the NFL for most targets without a drop at 67 and 53.
As shocking as the signings were, the even bigger shock was the price he signed them for. Sutton signed a four-year deal for $60.8 million, with $34.9 guaranteed; Patrick signed a three-year, $34 million deal with $18.5 million in guaranteed cash.
NFC front office exec to me:
"[Broncos] got both of those WRs wrapped up for 10% less than they'd have got on the open market."
— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) November 22, 2021
Paton’s journey to general manager has been full of hard work, determination, and proving himself.
From Player to Executive
Before he was an executive, Paton was a player with dreams of making it into the NFL. He grew up in a football family being a coach’s son
In high school, Paton played quarterback while on offense and defensive back on defense at Loyola High School in Los Angeles, CA.
Paton attended UCLA for college as a walk-on defensive back. However, by his senior year, Paton had earned a scholarship. He developed a reputation as being one of the hardest workers on the team.
Unfortunately, Paton’s NFL dreams were crushed when he wasn’t selected in the 1992 NFL Draft. Instead of giving up on his dream, Paton decided to go overseas and play professionally in Italy, followed by a year in Austria.
Paton returned to the United States and returned to his high school alma mater as a coach for two seasons. He began his career on the other side of the ball as a scouting intern for the Chicago Bears in 1997 under the direction of then-director of pro personnel Rick Spielman. He was promoted to a full-time role as a pro scout, where he stayed for two years before being promoted again as the assistant director of pro personnel in 2000.
In 2001, Paton was hired by the Miami Dolphins as their director of pro personnel, following his old boss Spielman. He stayed in that role until 2006.
In 2007, Paton was hired as the director of player personnel for the Minnesota Vikings, which reunited him again with Spielman. Spielman was promoted to the Vikings general manager in 2012 and chose Paton to be his assistant general manager. In 2015, Paton was given an additional role as vice president of player personnel.
In Paton’s 14 seasons with Minnesota, the Vikings made six playoff appearances, won four division titles, and had two trips to the NFC Championship game.
As assistant general manager, he played a vital role in the Vikings’ acquisition of 22 Pro Bowlers, fifteen of whom were drafted. In his last ten seasons, no other NFL team selected more future Pro Bowlers than the Vikings did with 13. Those players included wide receiver Justin Jefferson (2020), Dalvin Cook (2017), Stefon Diggs (2015), and Xavier Rhodes (2013).
Paton had previously turned down interviews with the Jets, Bears, Lions deeming them not the right fit.
The Broncos hired him to be their new general manager on January 13, 2021, replacing John Elway.
“It is an honor to be named general manager of an iconic franchise with a championship tradition like the Denver Broncos,” Paton said in a statement. “This organization has great resources, tremendous people, a talented young core of players, and an outstanding coaching staff.”
Since entering his new role, Paton has impressed. His 2021 first-round pick, Patrick Surtain, is currently in the conversation as defensive rookie of the year. He also proved he is not afraid to make flashy moves when he traded the face of the franchise, Von Miller, to the Los Angeles Rams for a second and third-round pick on November 3.
George Paton: “We have the resources to do whatever we want moving forward.”
Mentioned the team’s cap space, cash flow and draft picks.
Lots of flexibility for the Broncos coming up this offseason.
— Aric DiLalla (@AricDiLalla) November 22, 2021
With plenty of cap space and draft picks galore, it seems like Paton is in the perfect position to get the Broncos back to their winning ways.