Just over a week after John Elway announced he'd be surrendering personnel control to a new general manager starting in 2021, the Denver Broncos have hired said GM. As announced Wednesday, the team has pegged longtime Vikings executive George Paton as its chief decision-maker, luring the assistant GM to Denver after 14 seasons in Minnesota.
Paton, who also interviewed for the Detroit Lions' GM vacancy, has long been "one of the most sought-after" personnel execs, per NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, and turned down potential jobs with the Cleveland Browns and New York Jets in recent years. He arrived in Denver for a second interview and tour of the team's facility Tuesday, Pelissero reported, and will now have the final say on the Broncos' draft, free agency and roster decisions, as Elway outlined upon his move to a more managerial role earlier this month.
Paton, who joins the Broncos on a reported six-year contract, has spent the last 14 years with the Vikings, most recently as assistant GM alongside Rick Spielman. A former pro defensive back, he began his front-office career as a Chicago Bears scout and quickly ascended to assistant director of pro personnel in 2000. He first worked alongside Spielman with the Miami Dolphins in 2001, then followed the current Vikings GM to Minnesota in 2007.
Under Paton's oversight as assistant GM, the Vikings earned six postseason appearances, including two NFC Championship bids. They also posted just one losing season (2020) in his last six years near the top of the front office.