Finding their place in free agency: Broncos GM George Paton making moves


George Paton, Broncos new GM, photo from Minnesota Vikings

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (KDVR) — The learning curve is short in the NFL.

Two days in to the start of the NFL year and new Broncos General Manager George Paton seems like a seasoned pro.

“It’s really a smooth process.” says Paton in the first in-person, socially distanced press conference in over a year at UC Health Training Center. “This is just the start, we have a long way to build this football team.”

Paton’s day began with the release of fan favorite Phillip Lindsay from his contract. “We want to let Phillip hit the market and maximize his value. He deserves that.”

The quarterback position is certainly top of mind for Paton as he continues to evaluate the team. “We like Drew Lock. We have a plan in place. There’s free agency, there’s a draft, there’s trades. There’s a lot of ways to acquire a QB. Fortunately we have a QB here. We do want to bring in competition, we’re not going to force it,” he said.

Paton says the team is looking at all positions – including quarterback – in the upcoming NFL Draft. The Broncos currently hold the 9th pick.

Paton’s first moves as General Manager took place before free agency – exercising the option on edge rusher Von Miller’s contract and tagging safety Justin Simmons. “Pass rushers are a premium and he’s special,” says Paton who believes Miller will have a bounce back season after his 2020 season ending ankle injury. 

Talks continue with the team and Simmons on a long term contract. “That’s been a priority since I got here,” Paton said. Simmons is on his second franchise tag, a 1-year/$13.7 million deal.

It is estimated that the Broncos have $22 million in salary cap space. “It is tempting to go out and go crazy in free agency, but that doesn’t work very often,” says Paton whose first moves include signing cornerback Ron Darby, running back Mike Boone and resigning defensive tackle Shelby Harris. “We’re measured. We’re very calculated. We know our weaknesses and our needs, and we try to attack them. It’s been nice to have some cap flexibility,” Paton said.

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