It’s Sean Payton’s world, we’re all just living in it.

According to Adam Schefter, Payton holds the keys to Broncos Country. The team’s head coach will not only be at the forefront of personnel decisions—like benching and moving away from Russell Wilson—but in every aspect.

That includes what happens next with general manager George Paton. So, will Greg Penner and Payton keep Paton, or find a new GM to work with?

Is this the end of the road for George Paton and the Broncos?

George Paton, like most GMs, has gone through ups and downs with his decisions.

In the NFL Draft, he did great his first year—Patrick Surtain, Javonte Williams, Quinn Meinerz—but only so-so since then. However, it’s important to note he was tasked with building rosters for three different coaches in his three years.

In 2022, Paton landed the trade for Russell Wilson, which at the time was a blockbuster. No one knew how poorly Wilson would play for the Broncos that year. Which is also where Paton made his massive mistake, paying Wilson $250 million before he took a snap in Denver.

Some fans have become fed up with Paton and want him gone. Others acknowledge his mistakes and positive moves but understand if the head coach takes more of the Broncos reins.

“Payton and Paton have worked well together this season, and Payton is known to respect Paton and his abilities,” Schefter explained. “Payton has significant authority and influence over the shaping of the team’s football operation.”

Will Sean Payton end up like Bill Belichick in New England?

Ironically, Schefter discussed the future of Bill Belichick with the New England Patriots in his same update that included the Paton and Payton news.

“It feels like the end of an era to many around the league–that Belichick could be coaching his final game for the Patriots in Sunday’s home game against the New York Jets,” Schefter wrote.

Belichick is arguably the greatest head coach in the history of the NFL. He’s led teams to six Super Bowl wins and they won the AFC East 17 times under his leadership. But none of those have come the last four years, and the Patriots are the worst they’ve been in three decades.

For many years, the Patriots were the model franchise. Oh how far they’ve fallen, and it’s due to Belichick’s GM decisions. He’s been mostly terrible in the NFL Draft, not only whiffing on his picks, but missing would-be stars, too.

According to Schefter, it sounds like the Broncos are giving a great deal of control to Payton, just like Belichick was afforded in New England. (Note: The Broncos clarified Greg Penner will have ultimate say on the next GM.)

Is that really the best move?

On one hand, a head coach must be able to help form the team from a talent perspective. Most head coaches have input into draft picks, acquisitions, and trades; some more than others. So, it makes sense for Payton to be involved in building the team.

Especially if Broncos ownership believes he’s the right man for the job.

Denver is a team with a questionable amount of talent, and they sustained key injuries in preseaon too. Then, they started 1-5. Under previous head coaches, the team would fold right there. But Payton got the 2023 Broncos to bounce back, push through adversity and win five straight games at one point.

He had the Broncos in the middle of the playoff hunt for most of the second half of the season. Payton has proven he still has it as a head man.

On the other hand of the power argument, too much power can lead to a situation similar to what we see in New England currently. Or, what happened at the end of Mike Shanahan’s tenure with the Broncos.

Crucial offseason on the horizon for Denver

The decision on whether or not to fire George Paton is a huge one for Sean Payton and Greg Penner.

Not only would it mean bringing in a new GM and starting from scratch, but the Broncos have a lot of work to do in terms of the salary cap.

Because of Paton’s crazy contract to Wilson, Denver will be in salary cap hell for the next two years. Should he stay on and try to work through those issues? If not, what GM will want to take on the challenge of $85 million in dead cap in 2024 and 2025?

If things go well, Wilson will sign somewhere this offseason and offset some of his 2024 salary at least. Then, they’ll still have to build a roster with a new quarterback and less money than usual.

What Payton and Penner do this offseason will surely shape how the team looks not only next season, but into the long term, too.