If George Paton is going to deliver on his promise to wake the sleeping giant that is the Denver Broncos, the GM must attract new blood while also retaining his core stars. Paton provided Broncos Country with a comprehensive offseason update on Thursday that offered insight into how he does business.
The first-year GM has clearly and quickly grasped the importance of keeping fans in the loop, particularly with the futures of Von Miller and Justin Simmons still far from certain. Paton's determination to keep existing star players in the Mile High City will have both impressed and excited fans.
The GM also shocked fans somewhat when he gave them a concrete update on the return of embattled tackle Ja’Wuan James, who opted out of the 2020 season after playing just 63 snaps in 2019 just months after signing a massive four-year, $51 million free-agent deal with the Broncos.
“I had a good discussion with Ja’Wuan and his agent Bill Johnson," Paton said Thursday. "He’s ready to go. He said he missed football. He’s looking forward to getting here and working and being with his teammates. I’m looking forward to meeting him and seeing him play next year.”
Rebuilding bridges will be crucial, especially given James' troubled history with the Broncos to date. Paton has decided to reach out and openly talk with players' agents in order to check the temperature, which exhibits a change perhaps from how ex-GM John Elway did things.
Vic Fangio will need convincing that he is now 100% committed, as much as James' own teammates, but just like Paton, the head coach provided similar positive feedback about the 28-year-old's future.
“Yeah, I’ve talked to him a couple times," Fangio said Thursday. "He definitely is planning on coming back and being part of the team moving forward. He’s down south right now training. I’m expecting him back here in mid-to-late March for him to start training here with us and using our facilities. If OTAs come about, partaking in those. We’re counting and anticipating him being a part of our team next year.”
Getting back in the fold might take James some time and could create another reclamation project for O-line coach Mike Munchak, but if Garett Bolles can be turned into a Pro Bowler, it proves nothing is impossible.
Follow Keith on Twitter @KeithC_NFL.
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