Now that George Paton is on the job, he has a lot of work to do. The new Broncos general manager jumps right into the deep end, with big choices to make.
During his first couple of months on the job, here are the biggest decisions Paton has to make:
1. Figure out Von Miller’s contract
The Broncos can release Von Miller before the new league year in March and save themselves $18 million in cap space. Clearing up that cap space could help signing a top notch free agent in the offseason or even be able to save that money and use it elsewhere like on Courtland Sutton or Bradley Chubb’s future contract extensions.
Paton can also talk with Miller and ask him to restructure his deal to remain with the team, but also help the salary cap. Mike Klis had mentioned on 104.3 The Fan that the Broncos could give Miller a $9 million base salary and allow him to get his money back based on incentives. Maybe like Peyton Manning’s deal in 2015.
2. Retain Justin Simmons
Paton told “The Drive” on Tuesday that the Broncos would not be letting their best players go when he was asked about Simmons. Last year, the Broncos had placed the franchise tag on their top safety and eventually offered him a long-term deal. The offer would have placed Simmons as a top five or six safety in the NFL.
Now that Simmons earned a spot in the Pro Bowl, his price tag just went up.
Since the Broncos can’t negotiate with Simmons until the new league year, Simmons can choose where he would want to play next. If Paton wants to keep Simmons, he will have to be aggressive, but not reckless. It’s likely that Simmons wants to be the highest paid safety in the NFL, but there’s a chance he ends up with a contending Super Bowl team or follows the best offer. Paton would likely have to overpay for Simmons.
3. Find a franchise QB
Paton has had plenty of success with quarterbacks over the years, but hasn’t really had “the guy.” His Vikings went through quarterbacks nearly each season, except for when they landed Kirk Cousins.
Paton will have to figure out if he thinks Drew Lock showed some promise in 2020.
If Lock isn’t the future of the franchise, Paton will have to find his guy. Paton will make calls to Houston, Detroit and probably even Atlanta to see what the asking prices would be to trade for their quarterbacks. If one is available, Paton could easily pull the trigger to trade for one of the gun-slingers.
If Paton is unable to trade for one of the top QBs, he would then look at the draft and see if there’s an upgrade in the first round to replace Lock.
There’s also a chance that the Broncos would bring in a veteran QB to compete with Lock and eventually battle Lock for the starting job.
Newly hired general manager George Paton will have his hands full to kick off the 2021 offseason. His first season in Denver will be a doozy!
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