George Paton Withdraws From Panthers GM Search, To Meet With Broncos

George Paton will honor the Broncos’ interview request but will bow out of what has become a wide-ranging Panthers GM search.

The Panthers were interested in the Vikings’ assistant GM, but Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports notes (on Twitter) Paton will not pursue that job. This is certainly not unusual for Paton, who has been selective in recent years.

In this Minnesota role for over a decade, Paton most recently withdrew from the Browns GM search. He was viewed as the frontrunner for that post, which would have entailed working alongside longtime Vikings assistant Kevin Stefanski. Paton has interviewed for other GM jobs in recent years and will meet with the Lions. Paton’s Broncos interview will occur Friday, Albert Breer of tweets.

While Paton is in the mix for the Denver GM job, a clearer Detroit path may be emerging. Recent Lions front office hire Chris Spielman, who is assisting with the franchise’s GM search, received a strong recommendation on Paton from his brother, Vikings GM Rick Spielman. This is not exactly surprising, with Rick Spielman and Paton having worked together in multiple cities for the much of the past two decades.

The Broncos are searching for a GM for the first time in 10 years. John Elway‘s decision to step away from the personnel side has led to multiple ex-Broncos staffers being rumored as replacements. Denver submitted interview requests for Bears exec Champ Kelly and Patriots staffer Dave Ziegler. Kelly will join Paton in interviewing for the Denver GM job Friday, Breer adds. 49ers player personnel VP Adam Peters is also a rumored target. Paton’s background differs from the other candidates, having not worked with the Broncos previously.

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