DENVER — On Sunday, News 5 Sports Jake Gadon spoke with Denver insider Troy Renck to get an update on the Denver Broncos search for a new General Manager.
John Elway, the current Broncos GM, announced earlier in the week that he would be stepping down from the role.
Denver's GM search team interviewed a variety of different candidates this week and in our conversation with Troy, he breaks down who Broncos Country should keep an eye out for.
GADON: Troy, it is the first week of the NFL playoffs and the Broncos not playing in it once again this year. So with that, we start looking at 2021 season and this week - a big week up in Denver finding out the John Elway is going to be stepping down as General Manager for the Broncos. It has now turned into this massive search for a new Broncos GM. If you are Broncos Country, who are the guys they should be familiar with?
RENCK: I would say the slight favorite right now is George Paton from Minnesota. He has been their assistant GM for about 14 years. He turned down the Browns job last year. He is certainly ready for the next step, but can they lure him with enough money and enough authority to get him?
Then I would say Champ Kelly from the Bears. He worked for the Broncos from 2007-2014.
And then Terry Fontenot. He has interviewed well with the Falcons and interviewed well with the Broncos. He is a personnel guy for the Saints.
And their in-house candidate is Brian Stark. He is a rising star, but the optics of staying in-house would be difficult when you are preaching a fresh set of eyes.
GADON: This new GM will be getting a new roster - new young roster. A lot of questions surrounding Drew Lock - is he the guy? Is Justin Simmons a player you pay long-term? What are some of the things that are being discussed in these interviews?
RENCK: Well, you got to know the philosophy and they need to work well with Vic Fangio, which for me is backwards. Fangio hasn't been over .500 one day in two years. But they have to add 4 to 5 dynamic players and Drew Lock is the main question. I think they will bring in competition and say we like him, but we need to protect ourselves with a veteran like Andy Dalton, Gardner Minshew or Jacoby Brissett. A big decision too on Von Miller. John Elway will be involved in that as they want him to retire in Denver. But there is no guarantee that he returns. And you look at Justin Simmons - they dragged their feet on this for a year. He would be a priority No. 1 for me, but if they decided he doesn't deserve the reset the market - then it could be tricky because it does not seem like Justin is interested in playing on a franchise tag again.
GADON: So Troy, who is your front runner in this?
RENCK: It is so complicated because Elway and Joe Ellis will likely be gone in March of next year and they could have a new owner by that time or at least the team could be up for sale. So there are so many moving pieces here. That's why you say on the surface Jake, George Paton would be better because of his experience and maybe could make it happen quickly. The other guys have not done the assistant GM role as long as he has. But whoever it is they need to find 4 or 5 dynamic players. Two corners, a coverage linebacker, add a lineman, might be a right tackle because you just can't have hope as a strategy like 'if we are healthy, we will be fine, if we have a normal off-season, we will be fine'. I do not think a new GM will buy into that and I think the Broncos have preached that, but every team will get a new off-season, every team will be healthier. Like that is the baseline.
Paton would get the slight edge, but Champ Kelly is the one that ex-players talk to me about the most. They love his competitiveness and has eye for talent.