George Paton failed to upgrade the most-important position in football
News came out on Monday that Aaron Rodgers was going to return to the Green Bay Packers, and it was a bit of a buzzkill for Broncos Country. This now means that Broncos general manager George Paton has failed this offseason because he failed to address the quarterback position.
When Paton got hired, he said he was going to watch film on Drew Lock to determine if he could be the franchise quarterback for the Broncos. Paton then said that Denver will bring in competition for Lock, and that turned into a trade with the Carolina Panthers for Teddy Bridgewater.
Here’s a little piece of advice for the first-time GM: Quarterback battles don’t work. You didn’t need competition for Lock, you needed an upgrade at the position.
In an offseason in which many quarterbacks were made available in free agency and via trade, Paton was unable to find an improvement. Paton even skipped out in the NFL Draft.
The Detroit Lions made it known that they were going to be moving on from Matthew Stafford. The Broncos made calls and even made an offer that intrigued Detroit. It was reported that the Lions were interested in Denver’s offer, but they wanted Lock in return and Paton refused to make that happen.
Carson Wentz and the Eagles came to a mutual agreement that they would part ways and yet Paton never made an offer to the Eagles to bring Wentz to Denver. Wentz would’ve been an upgrade over Lock too.
I’m not going to criticize Paton for not going after Deshaun Watson because he was interested and there was interest from Watson about playing in Denver, but news came out that Watson would have many off-the-field issues with multiple women. That doesn’t look like Denver will be moving on a Watson trade unless everything is settled.
Then, there’s the Rodgers situation. Denver was interested in the reigning MVP, and he was interested in the Broncos. The Broncos actually made an offer to the Packers for Rodgers on draft night according to James Palmer of the NFL Network. I was told that it was a realistic chance that Rodgers would be wearing a Broncos jersey this season. Even our own Mark Schlereth was told from a reliable source that a deal was close to getting done.
The reigning league MVP even made it clear to the Broncos that he wanted to play for Denver, and the Broncos knew that. Now with the news out there that he’s headed back to Green Bay, Rodgers hurt the Broncos and the Broncos even hurt themselves.
If Rodgers really wanted out, he could’ve made it known publicly. Rodgers had every chance to make it public that he didn’t want to return to the Packers, but he refused to comment. Denver’s brass on the other hand should’ve been chatting with Rodgers and his agent daily trying to find a way to get him to Denver. Now everyone has to wait and hope that he’ll be made available next offseason for a trade when multiple teams will have strong interest.
Paton could’ve have been on the phone everyday calling the Packers to try and get a deal done for Rodgers. Instead, he was satisfied with Lock and Bridgewater competing.
Let’s even go back to April for the NFL Draft. In a draft where there were five quarterbacks going to go within the top-20 picks, Denver was in a prime position to select one. Again, Denver needed to upgrade the position. Everyone knew that Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson were going to be the first two picks, but only a select few knew who the San francisco 49ers were going to take with the third-overall pick.
A source close to me had found out the San Francisco was going to select Trey Lance. Sure enough, they did.
After the first round of the draft, Paton talked with the media and said, “Quarterback was in play.” Instead, Paton took the safest pick by selecting cornerback Patrick Surtain of Alabama. Paton made it known it was the safest pick of the draft even though Denver didn’t have a need at the cornerback position.
This meant that Paton passed on Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields and Alabama quarterback Mac Jones. I believe QB was in play for Paton at the beginning of the draft, but once Lance was off the board, Fields and Jones were also off the Denver board.
Here’s the issue, if Paton really wanted Lance, he could’ve easily moved up in the draft and gotten to the third-overall pick. Paton decided he didn’t want to spend that much to move up six spots. Paton didn’t want to address the most-important position in sports unless it was on his terms.
The Denver Broncos will now head into training camp this season with yet another quarterback battle with Lock and Bridgewater. The two combined last season for 31 passing touchdowns and 26 interceptions. Bridgewater ranked 22nd in quarterback rating, while Lock ranked 32nd. Neither of the two quarterbacks even managed to average 250 yards per game in the air.
This is who George Paton and the Broncos brass are okay putting out there for a quarterback battle. If Paton really wanted to push Lock and help his development, he could’ve gone after Ryan Fitzpatrick or even Andy Dalton, but he refused to.
If there’s a quarterback you want you have to be willing to spend a hefty price for the most important position on the field because you can’t win a Super Bowl without one. Paton could’ve gotten an upgrade at the position.
I’ll leave you with this, when your out there at training camp or even watching a game this season and you see struggles at the quarterback position again, just remember that the Broncos could’ve upgraded the position, but Denver’s newly hired general manager George Paton failed to do so.