George Paton landed in Denver and he's staying there.
Paton, the longtime Vikings assistant general manager, has agreed to terms on a six-year deal to become the Broncos general manager, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport and NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported. The Broncos later confirmed the hire.
For 14 years, Paton was with the Minnesota organization. The vice president and player personnel/assistant general manager worked alongside Vikings GM Rick Spielman and now will take over as general manager under John Elway.
"Early in this process, it became clear why George has been such a coveted GM candidate for so many years," Elway said in a statement Wednesday. "He is a proven evaluator who knows every detail of leading football operations. With his experience in all aspects of the job -- the college and pro sides, salary cap, trades, working with the head coach and bringing the staff together -- George is more than ready to succeed in this role. George has waited and worked for the right opportunity, which shows that he is smart and serious about winning. We're thrilled to name George Paton as general manager of the Denver Broncos."
Elway announced on Jan. 4 that he was turning over day-to-day operations to a full-time GM and the Broncos moved rather swiftly to get Paton.
Paton landed in Denver on Tuesday to tour the facility and for a second interview and is now moving forward with the Broncos. Denver also had two interviews with the Saints' Terry Fontenot over Zoom.
"In many ways, I feel like this team is a sleeping giant. For me, it is the right place and the right time for this opportunity," Paton said in a statement. "I believe in hard work, the grind and not taking any shortcuts to achieve our goals. Drafting and developing players is the No. 1 priority. We will be aggressive -- but not reckless -- in adding talent to our roster."
When Elway announced his decision to seek a GM while maintaining his position as president of football operations, it was noted that the new general manager would lead the personnel and football staff. Paton will have final say on the draft, free agency and the roster, per Elway's Jan. 4 statement.
Regarded as one of the league’s most respected personnel men, Paton has drawn interest to leave the Vikings in past offseasons. However, he decided to stay put and alongside Spielman.
As Paton moves on, it's likely to be a huge blow dealt to the Vikings, who are coming off a 7-9 campaign that brought to the forefront a glaring need for personnel aid on the defensive end. But as the Vikings look to rebuild, Paton will lead the Broncos' latest revamp.
Denver struggled to a 5-11 2020 season, its fourth losing campaign in a row and fifth consecutive in which it failed to advance to the playoffs.
Elway decided to shake up the front office structure and bring in a general manager, and the Broncos have tabbed Paton as the man to lead them into their new age.