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Mile High Morning: GM George Paton explains approach to free agency


The Lead

With less than two weeks until the start of the new league year and the opening of the free agency period, General Manager George Paton sat down in front of a camera at UCHealth Training Center and answered Denver media's most pressing questions.

He spoke about the futures of some of the Broncos' biggest names, like Justin Simmons, Von Miller and Drew Lock. He talked about how he evaluates quarterbacks. And he talked about free agency itself, and his philosophy for it.

While fans around the NFL may dream of huge signings, Paton emphasized that this part of the offseason is not the biggest part of building a successful team.

"You never want to go crazy in free agency," Paton said Thursday. "You don't want to build your team in free agency. You want to fill selective needs going into the draft. That has been my philosophy. You don't always want to be the first one out of the gate and throw all your money, but if there is something you need, you'll take a shot.

"I just think you have to be selective and you have to look at every situation. If you can fill a need and help your team, you're going to go for it."

This offseason may include some new wrinkles, as several teams across the league may cut veteran players. Ever the meticulous worker, Paton has does his homework on possible targets, Head Coach Vic Fangio said.

"George did a good job with [estimating] some possibilities that may be cap casualties," Fangio said. "… We've studied some of them. We are prepared in case they do happen. We have no idea of if and when that will happen. That's kind of the tricky part of it and timing part of it, in that if you sign a player too early in free agency within the first week or so, then another week or so after that some players come loose that maybe you would have rather had instead of the ones you signed early. That's part of the game — the timing of it, prognosticating of it.

"George has a lot of good contacts around the league and tries to stay abreast of things that could possibly happen. Again, there's never any guarantee of anything. We've tried to be prepared for that with [estimating] through what George thinks could possibly happen. You have to weigh that in as you're signing guys early."

Over the past month and a half, Fangio has worked closely with Paton to prepare for free agency and the draft, and the head coach has been impressed with the new general manager.

"The relationship has been great so far," Fangio said. "George has come in here with boots to the ground, working his butt off and watching a ton of film. He did a deep dive on our team. We worked hard on the free agency aspect of it, and we're now into the draft part of it. I've been very impressed with how he goes about his business. [He's] very knowledgeable around the league in every facet — with the agents, players and contacts. I think we have a great, great one here."

Below the Fold

With the benefit of hindsight, what might the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft looked like? NFL Network’s Adam Rank tackled that question with a redraft, and he had the Broncos landing Jared Goff with the 31st-overall pick instead of trading up for Paxton Lynch.

The Unclassifieds

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