BRONCOS

George Paton’s number one priority is to find a franchise QB

Jan 14, 2021, 6:21 AM | Updated: 6:36 am
DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 27: Quarterback Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions warms up prior to ...
(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Once newly hired Broncos general manager George Paton puts his staff together in the front office, he will enter the offseason with the most important priority for a NFL team. He needs to find the franchise quarterback of the Broncos.

The most holy job in the state of Colorado is the quarterback position for the Broncos. John Elway owned that role for 16 seasons, winning two Super Bowls. Peyton Manning held the job for four years, winning another title.

Since Manning retired, however, Denver has struggled to find ”The Guy.”

While general manager of the Broncos, Elway drafted Drew Lock in the second round do the 2019 NFL Draft. Lock looked solid in the five games he played during his rookie season, but in his second season he declined.

Lock completed only 57 percent of his passes, throwing 16 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Those numbers ranked at the bottom of the league.

Now that Paton is calling the shots, he has the opportunity to find his guy to play quarterback. During his 14 seasons with the Vikings, Paton did a lot of the general manager duties while Minnesota went through plenty of quarterbacks. Paton’s Vikings drafted quarterbacks like Teddy Bridgewatwer and Christian Ponder. Minnesota also targeted veteran quarterbacks like Brett Favre, Sam Bradford, Case Keenum and Kirk Cousins.

There’s evidence that Paton could make the change at quarterback. With potential quarterbacks of Matthew Stafford, Deshaun Watson, Matt Ryan and even Jimmy Garoppolo becoming available this offseason, it would make sense that Paton targets one of those gunslingers.

Former NFL linebacker Chad Brown reported on 104.3 The Fan that the Lions are looking to move on from Stafford. 9News Broncos insider Mike Klis also mentioned that he’s hearing that Stafford wants out of Detroit. It’s safe to say the buzz is growing with Stafford getting out of Detroit. Why would Stafford want to stay for another rebuild?

Then, there’s Deshaun Watson. Watson is not happy with Houston after they failed to keep Watson in the loop when hiring a general manager and potential head coach. Watson has a no-trade clause in his contract, allowing him to pick his destination if he does decide to move on from the Texans.

Matt Ryan could be a wild card for Denver. Ryan’s cap hit is really high and wouldn’t allow Denver to make any big moves in free agency.

Mike Klis also mentioned on The Fan that it’s more realistic that Paton tries to target one of those names instead of getting a bridge-type quarterback like the Andy Daltons of the league.

If Paton is unable to acquire one of those quarterbacks, he can target one in the draft. Paton’s Broncos will be in range to draft a quarterback if he’s in love with one. It’s unlikely Denver can get to the No. 1 pick for Trevor Lawrence, but depending what the Jets do with the second overall pick, Paton could trade up from pick No. 9 to the Jets pick at two to get Justin Fields or Zach Wilson. Either way, one of the two will be in position for the Broncos to grab.

Of course, Paton will have to decide what he wants to do with Von Miller’s contract and even Justin Simmons’ free agent situation. But the most important part of this offseason is finding the right quarterback to lead the way moving forward.

Once Paton chooses his guy, everything else will fall into place for the newly hired general manager.

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George Paton’s number one priority is to find a franchise QB