ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – John Yellowway and Denver Broncos wanted George Patton so much to be the new general manager of the team that Patton got a longer deal than Yellowway ever had in the same job.
Patton, who has spent the past 13 years with the Vikings in Minnesota, has agreed to a six-year deal to be general manager of the Broncos, ESPN sources told Adam Shefter. The Broncos announced Paton’s appointment on Wednesday, but did not disclose conditions.
Patton spent most of Tuesday in Denver for his second interview with team members and returned to Minnesota on Tuesday night.
OFFICIAL: We agreed with George Patton to become our new general manager.
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̵1; Denver Broncos (@Broncos) January 13, 2021
Elway had promised to find “the best candidate, the best man” for the job. The Broncos also interviewed New Orleans Saints Assistant General Manager Terry Fontenot, Chicago Bears Assistant Director Champ Kelly, New England Patriots Dave Ziegler and Broncos College Scout Director Brian Stark.
“At the beginning of this process, it became clear why George has been such a coveted candidate for GM for so many years. He is a proven appraiser who knows every detail of the leading football operations,” Elway said in a statement. “With his experience in all aspects of his job – college and professionals, wage restraint, professions, working with the head coach and pooling staff – George is more than ready to succeed in this role. George waits and works for the right opportunity, which shows that he is smart and serious about winning. We are pleased to name George Patton as general manager of the Denver Broncos. “
Patton and Fontenot, who did their interview in practice because the Saints are still in the playoffs, were interviewed for the second time on Tuesday.
Elway, the best football decision-maker from the Broncos since 2011, announced on January 4 that he was retiring from daily personal operations, but would remain president of football operations for at least the last year of his current contract.
Elway also said he did not think the current battle for team ownership between Pat Bowlen’s children would affect the Broncos’ ability to secure what he thought would be the best candidate. Patton’s six-year deal is likely to overcome any potential change in team ownership in the coming years.
Patton has control over the roster of the team, the free agency and the project. The Broncos missed the playoffs in five consecutive seasons after winning the Super Bowl 50 and finished this past season 5-11.
The team is facing contract selection decisions for linebacker Von Miller and Karim Jackson, and Pro Bowl safety Justin Simmons is scheduled to be among the team’s unlimited free agents. The solution to the quarterback plan is also among the Broncos’ problems.
The team has one of the youngest lists in the league and enough salary space to participate in the free market. In recent days, Elway and team president and CEO Joe Ellis have promised that the new general manager will have the “resources” for improvements.
“In many ways, I feel that this team is a sleeping giant. For me, this is the right place and the right time for this opportunity,” Paton said in a statement. “… Although it’s hard to leave the Vikings, the relationships I liked in Minnesota are for life.
Patton added: “… Training and developing players is the number one priority. We will be aggressive – but not reckless – in adding talent to our roster.”
Over the years, Patton has been particularly selective in opening a general manager. Last year, after Kevin Stefansky left for Cleveland, Patton was a finalist for the Cleveland Browns general manager, but withdrew his name from the dispute on January 24, 2020, two days after visiting for a personal interview.
Patton was also wanted to open with Detroit – this cycle before, when the Detroit Lions hired former CEO Bob Quinn – Green Bay, San Francisco, Los Angeles Rams and the New York Jets.
Patton is widely regarded as one of the best talent appraisers on Viking staff, and his release leaves Minnesota with a big gap in the front office. Ryan Monens, the current director of the professional scout, may be on the line to replace Patton this off-season.
ESPN’s Courtney Cronin contributed to this report.