Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Grading of the Week: Well done, George Patton. Now the Broncos general manager’s next task is clear: Find the next franchise QB

Doing business away from a franchise icon is never easy. (Just ask the Rockies.)

In addition to the fan backlash that often accompanies packing a beloved figure, there’s the challenge of actually getting something of near or equal value in return. (Just ask the Rockies.)

That says something about the work of Broncos general manager George Patton, who this week did Von Miller for the Los Angeles Rams for his 2022 second and third-round picks, much less the former.

Namely, it says that everyone involved believes Patton achieved the latter.

George Patton – A

Of course, as good as Patton did this week, the Broncos executive’s job is far from finished.

Receiving two second-day draft picks for Miller, a superstar outside linebacker in the final year of his contract and an unlikely return, was Patton’s first major step in a remake of the franchise.

The second step will be even more important: Capitalizing on all that newfound draft capital by bringing in a franchise quarterback that’s been missing since Peyton Manning went into the sunset after Super Bowl 50.

There are two ways Patton does this: 1) use those picks in a trade for an experienced QB with wandering eyes (think Aaron Rodgers, Deshan Watson or Russell Wilson), or 2) use those picks in a deal to pass. Use pics. Draft over and select the best college prospect available.

Social distancing around the watercoolers inside Grading the Week offices Everyone agrees: Unless Patton can get 32-year-old Wilson away from Seattle, No. 2 is the way to go.

It’s clear that Wilson is good enough and young enough to pawn off a significant portion of the Broncos’ future. It is not so clear whether the same can be said of Watson, 26, or Rodgers, 37. While both are talented quarterbacks, Watson’s legal troubles have no clear end date, and Rodgers is simply old enough that the extra stuff he brings to the table is no longer worth the investment.

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Which brings us to the 2022 NFL Draft.

Will a Sure Fire franchise quarterback be available next spring? It depends on what you think of North Carolina’s Sam Howell, Ole Miss’s Matt Coral, Liberty’s Malik Willis, Cincinnati’s Desmond Ridder, or Pittsburgh’s Kenny Pickett.

We feel safe in saying that at least one of those guys turns out to be a good-than-great supporter. Now it’s up to Patton and his team to find out.

Joe Sakik – C

On the opposite end of the business spectrum this week: Joe Sakic, general manager of the Avalanche.

Apparently, one of the NHL’s worst-kept secrets was the AVS’ failed attempt to bring former Buffalo Sabers star Jack Eichel to Mile High country.

Hours after the 25-year-old Kendra was traded to the Vegas Golden Knights, he told Sportsnet’s Elliot Friedman There was a point where he thought he was headed to Colorado. The clear route: Capped-out AVS couldn’t convince Buffalo to take part of Eichel’s $10 million cap hit for 2021-22.

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