Broncos are one loss from a fire sale, but will George Paton botch that too?

Oct 25, 2022, 6:00 AM
George Paton...
Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

One more loss.

That’s all it will take for the Denver Broncos to start to blow this thing up. From coaches, to nearly every player on the roster, there will be changes. One guy who’s 100 percent safe is QB Russell Wilson. He’s not going anywhere. The Broncos gave up too much to get him and paid him way too much money for any other team to ever sniff that contract.

But outside of Wilson, who on this roster feels truly untouchable for a potential trade? Probably cornerback Pat Surtain II and safety Justin Simmons, but that’s about it. ESPN’s Adam Schefter dropped a bomb on Sunday morning, noting that guys like Bradley Chubb and Jerry Jeudy could be available before the Nov. 1 trade deadline. And if Denver loses to the Jaguars on Sunday, why not listen to offers?

Schefter went on “The Drive” with Derek Wolfe and DMac on Monday and said he believes Chubb could fetch two draft picks, one in the second-round and another in the third. For a guy who’s going to be a free agent this summer and command a lot of money simply because of the position he plays, GM George Paton would be insane to not do a deal if presented with that kind of return.

If you’re likely to lose Chubb this summer, why not get some value for him now? It’d be similar to when the Broncos traded Von Miller to the Rams a season ago and landed a couple of draft picks in the process.

But all this talk brings us to a potentially larger issue. Does Broncos Country trust Paton to do anything right at this moment? He made three major decisions in the last 10 months and all of them look questionable at best, a disaster at worse.

Paton hired Nathaniel Hackett to be the head coach. Hackett’s been brutal, constantly bungling game-management decisions and leading an absolutely anemic offense. The Broncos are last in scoring in the NFL and have scored one or fewer touchdowns in six of their seven games. It’s truly shocking how inept Hackett’s offense looks, and it’d be stunning if he’s the coach next year. He may not even survive the season, let alone last into next week with another loss.

Paton then traded for Wilson from the Seahawks and gave up a massive package. He gouged Denver’s draft capitol in 2022 and 2023 to land the nine-time Pro Bowl QB, plus gave up three players. He bet on Wilson raising the bar in Denver, but that hasn’t been the case at all. Somehow, this offense is worse with Wilson leading the way than all the journeyman QBs after Peyton Manning retired. It’s an unreal development.

And finally, Paton handed Wilson a massive contract extension before he played a down of football for Denver. It’d be one thing if it was just the trade, but now Paton guaranteed the Broncos are tied to Wilson through at least 2025 at the absolute earliest. He better fix it fast, or this trade could literally set Denver back years and years. It would go down as maybe the worst in NFL history.

So does the Walton-Penner Family Ownership Group (WPFOG) trust Paton to handle the trade deadline properly? Again, he looks like he’s 0-3 in his last three big decisions. Trading Chubb or Jeudy would go down as a big decision. They’re both former first-round picks.

For all the talk about Hackett being on the hot seat, and rightfully so, why doesn’t Paton get roped into the same conversations? The WPFOG didn’t hire Paton, just like they didn’t hire Hackett, a point often made about why Denver could move on from the first-year head coach. The same should be said about the general manager.

Paton isn’t getting fired during the season, but he better get the trade deadline right. Because you can bet the new bosses are watching. And they know 2022 has been a disaster thus far, thanks in large part to Paton’s poor decisions.



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Broncos are one loss from a fire sale, but will George Paton botch that too?