In his first media appearance since Jan. 19, Denver Broncos rookie general manager George Paton carefully addressed the team's ever-present link to disgruntled Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, the subject of intense trade speculation.
Mindful of the NFL's tampering policy, Paton repeated his mantra of pursuing every deal — including, but not limited to, a potential blockbuster Watson acquisition.
"I can't discuss other players who are under contract, but I've said before we're going to be aggressive and we're going to (pursue) every deal," he said in a virtual press conference Thursday, per the Denver Post's Kyle Newman.
It's a stock answer from the new Mile High czar, but one that can be expected at this point in the offseason with the QB carousel spinning and nobody knowing when, or where, it'll stop. The Broncos, like every other team, are simply dancing to its beat.
"Right now it's a lot of just rumors and innuendoes and everybody proposing this and that," head coach Vic Fangio said Thursday, via Newman. "I really don't know what's going to happen with the names being bandied about out there."
Of course, the Broncos' pursuit of Watson — whether they go all-in or back out of the sweepstakes — is dependent on the status of incumbent signal-caller Drew Lock, the fan base's resident lightning rod. Paton left open the possibility of replacing Lock with the reigning NFL passing champ, just as he cracked the door on drafting a rookie successor in the first round of April's draft.
"We’re open to any position with that first pick," Paton said, via The DNVR's Andrew Mason. "We’re going to take the best player that can help this football team."
It's a foregone conclusion the Broncos will add to their QB room in the weeks ahead. The lone remaining question is whether that infusion comes via trade (Watson, Russell Wilson), the open market (Andy Dalton, Ryan Fitzpatrick), or the draft (Trey Lance, Mac Jones).
Paton, like any worthwhile GM, has not and will not show his hand, least of all publicly. But of the players he is permitted to speak about, Lock drew what qualifies at this juncture as a show of support for 2021.
"We did a deep dive with Drew. Very talented, inconsistent at times," he said, via Romi Bean of CBS Denver. "I've spoken with Drew; I see him every day. He really wants to be great. We're always going to try to bring in competition, but I like the track Drew is on."
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