As the Broncos search for a general manager for the first time in over a decade, follow along as we track rumored and reported candidates for the position.
- Confirmed/Reported Candidates:
- Terry Fontenot - Saints VP/Assistant General Manager, Pro Personnel
- Champ Kelly - Bears Assistant Director of Player Personnel
- George Paton - Vikings Vice President of Player Personnel/Assistant General Manager
- Brian Stark - Broncos Director of College Scouting
- Dave Ziegler - Patriots Assistant Director of Player Personnel
- Other Potential Candidates:
- Thomas Dimitroff - former Falcons GM
- Adam Peters - 49ers Vice President of Player Personnel
- John Spytek - Buccaneers Director of Player Personnel
Current position: VP/Assistant General Manager - Pro Personnel, New Orleans Saints (2015-Pres.)
Notable previous positions: Pro Scout, New Orleans Saints (2008-14)
Fontenot is in the midst of his 16th season in the Saints' front office, and he's led the team's pro personnel department over the last six seasons. His evaluations of pro players have helped the Saints win the NFC South in each of the last four seasons, and after interviewing with the Jets last year, perhaps Fontenot is ready for a GM job of his own.
Reported by: Mike Klis
Current position: Assistant Director of Player Personnel, Chicago Bears (2017-present)
Notable previous positions: Director of Pro Scouting, Chicago Bears (2015-16); Assistant Director of Pro Personnel, Denver Broncos (2010-14); Assistant Coordinator of Pro and College Scouting, Broncos (2008-09); Northeast Region College Scout, Broncos (2007)
Kelly, who has spent the last six seasons with the Bears, previously was employed by the Broncos for nearly a decade. Aside from that connection, he also has worked with Head Coach Vic Fangio before, when Fangio was the Bears' defensive coordinator from 2015-18.
Interview confirmed: On Jan. 5, President and CEO Joe Ellis confirmed that the team had requested and received permission from the Bears to interview Kelly.
Current position: Vice President of Player Personnel/Assistant General Manager, Minnesota Vikings (2007-pres.)
Notable previous positions: Director of Pro Personnel, Miami Dolphins (2001-06), Assistant Director of Pro Personnel, Chicago Bears (2000)
After more than a decade with the Vikings, Paton could be an option for the Broncos. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday that the Broncos had requested permission to interview Paton, who has made an impact on both the Vikings' college and pro scouting efforts. The Vikings found a gem in the 2020 NFL Draft when they selected Justin Jefferson with the 22nd-overall pick. Jefferson's 1,400 yards rank first among rookie receivers in the Super Bowl era. Paton interviewed for Cleveland's general manager role a season ago before ultimately returning to Minnesota.
Reported by: Ian Rapoport
Current position: Director of College Scouting, Denver Broncos (2017-Pres.)
Notable previous positions: National Scout, Broncos (2016); Western Scout (2015), West Coast Scout (2012-14), Offensive Coordinator/QB Coach, Yale University (2009-11)
The first internal candidate to be tied to the search process, Stark has eight years of experience in Denver and has helped lead the Broncos' college scouting process in recent years. The Colorado native has experience as both a coach and talent evaluator, and he's helped the Broncos compile draft classes in recent years that include blue-chip players like Bradley Chubb, Courtland Sutton, Noah Fant and Jerry Jeudy.
Reported by: Mike Klis
Current position: Assistant Director of Player Personnel, Patriots (2020-pres.)
Notable previous positions: Director of Pro Personnel, Patriots (2016-19); Assistant Director of Pro Scouting, Patriots (2013-15); Pro Scout, Broncos (2012); Player Personnel Assistant/Area Scout, Broncos (2011)
After a few years with the Broncos, Ziegler has spent the last eight seasons in New England and has consistently risen in the ranks. In 2016, he took over as the Patriots' director of pro personnel after Bob Quinn became the Lions' GM, and now he may have his opportunity to be a general manager, too. ESPN's Mike Reiss said in 2016 that Ziegler is described as "an attention-to-detail-type grinder with a knack for understanding a player's strengths and weaknesses while not sitting on the fence in his evaluations."
Other Potential Candidates
Notable previous positions: General Manager, Atlanta Falcons (2008-20); Director of College Scouting, Patriots (2003-07); National Scout, Patriots (2002), College Scout, Browns (1998-2001); Area Scout, Detroit Lions (1994-97)
Before parting ways with him midway through the 2020 season, Dimitroff led the Falcons for more than a decade. His tenure included drafting Pro Bowl players like quarterback Matt Ryan, wide receivers Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley, tight end Austin Hooper, defensive tackle Grady Jarrett, linebackers Vic Beasley and Deion Jones and safety Keanu Neal.
Current position: Vice President of Player Personnel, San Francisco 49ers (2017-pres.)
Notable previous positions: Director of College Scouting, Broncos (2016); Assistant Director of College Scouting, Broncos (2014-15); National Scout, Broncos (2011-13); Regional Scout, Broncos (2009-12); Area Scout, Patriots (2006-08); Pro Scout, Patriots (2005); Scouting Assistant, Patriots (2003-04)
During his tenure with the Broncos, Peters helped shape the roster that would eventually win Super Bowl 50 (as did the other candidates with previous experience working for the Broncos), and after going to work for the 49ers, he helped San Francisco reach a Super Bowl of their own.
Current position: Director of Player Personnel, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2016-pres.)
Notable previous positions: National Scout, Broncos (2014-15); Southwest Area Scout, Broncos (2013); Director of College Scouting, Cleveland Browns (2010-12); College/Pro Scout, Philadelphia Eagles (2007-09); College Scouting Assistant, Eagles (2006)
After a few years in Denver, Spytek departed to Tampa in 2016, and now "oversees the day-to-day operations of the college and pro scouting departments," according to the Buccaneers' website. As the Bucs enter the postseason for the first time since 2007, it's worth noting that Spytek played a role in luring key free agents Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Ndamukong Suh and Shaquil Barrett to Tampa.