After more than a decade of leading the Denver Broncos as a general manager and president of football operations, John Elway’s role with the franchise officially came to an end on Tuesday.
Elway announced in January that he would step down from his duties and hire a new general manager, while remaining as a consultant and advisor to the team. He also said he would honor the final year of his contract, which expired on March 31.
Elway’s tenure as an executive was marked by highs and lows, but he will always be remembered as one of the greatest players and leaders in Broncos history. He led the team to two Super Bowl titles as a quarterback in the late 1990s, and then helped them win another one as a GM in 2015.
He also brought in some of the biggest names in the league, such as Peyton Manning, Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware, Aqib Talib and Emmanuel Sanders.
However, Elway also faced criticism for his inability to find a long-term solution at quarterback after Manning retired in 2016. He drafted and signed several players who failed to live up to expectations, such as Paxton Lynch, Trevor Siemian, Case Keenum and Joe Flacco.
He also made some questionable coaching hires and firedowns, such as Vance Joseph and Rich Scangarello. The Broncos have missed the playoffs for five straight seasons, their longest drought since the 1970s.
Elway’s successor, George Paton, was hired in January after a thorough search process. Paton spent 14 years with the Minnesota Vikings as an assistant GM and vice president of player personnel. He has a reputation for being a savvy talent evaluator and a collaborative leader.
He has already made some significant moves in his first offseason with the Broncos, such as trading for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, re-signing safety Justin Simmons and defensive end Shelby Harris, and adding cornerback Kyle Fuller and running back Mike Boone in free agency.
Paton also has a big decision to make in the upcoming NFL draft, which starts on Thursday. The Broncos hold the ninth overall pick and could use it to select a quarterback of the future, such as Trey Lance, Justin Fields or Mac Jones.
They could also trade up or down to acquire more picks or address other needs on the roster. Paton said he will consult with Elway on draft matters, but he will have the final say.
Elway’s legacy with the Broncos is secure and undeniable. He is the only person in NFL history to win a Super Bowl as a player and an executive with the same team. He is also a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Broncos Ring of Fame.
He will always be revered by Broncos fans and respected by his peers. He said he is looking forward to spending more time with his family and pursuing other interests outside of football.
“I’m grateful for everything that John Elway has done for our organization,” Paton said in a statement. “He’s been a tremendous mentor to me since I arrived here. I have nothing but admiration for him as a player, executive and person. I wish him all the best in his next chapter.”
Final Thoughts: John Elway Steps Down as Broncos GM
John Elway’s departure from the Denver Broncos marks the end of an era for one of the most iconic figures in the franchise’s history. Elway was not only one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game, but he also had a successful run as a general manager and president of football operations.
However, the last few years have been challenging for the team, and Elway’s inability to find a long-term solution at quarterback was a significant factor in their struggles.
George Paton has big shoes to fill as Elway’s successor, but he has already shown that he is up to the task. Paton’s reputation as a savvy talent evaluator and collaborative leader makes him an excellent fit for the Broncos, who are in need of a fresh start.
Paton’s first offseason with the team has been productive, and he has made some significant moves that should improve the team’s chances of success in the short term.
The upcoming NFL draft will be a crucial test for Paton as he looks to address the team’s long-term needs. The Broncos hold the ninth overall pick and could use it to select a quarterback of the future or address other pressing needs on the roster.
Paton’s ability to make the right decision could have a significant impact on the team’s future success.
Overall, John Elway’s legacy with the Broncos is secure and undeniable. He brought three Super Bowl championships to the franchise and helped establish a winning culture that continues to this day.
Although his tenure as an executive had its share of ups and downs, he will always be remembered as one of the greatest figures in the team’s history. The Broncos are fortunate to have someone like George Paton taking the reins, and the team’s future looks bright under his leadership.