NFL GM Reveals True Feeling on Nathaniel Hackett’s Future

Nathaniel Hackett

Getty Denver Broncos HC Nathaniel Hackett.

With the Denver Broncos losing yet another game, moving their overall record to 3-8, some people within NFL front offices believe that it’s time for the Broncos to move on from head coach Nathaniel Hackett sooner than later.

According to Heavy Sports’ Matt Lombardo, a current NFL general manager told him, “I think they definitely look into moving on.” After just 11 games, the general manager also said, “There’s not a lot of hope there.”

Sunday’s Week 12 loss to the Carolina Panthers proved more and more that it’s not clicking with Hackett and their new franchise quarterback Russell Wilson by scoring less than 17 points for the ninth time this season.

So far this season, Wilson is completing a career low 58.9 percent of his passes and has thrown just eight touchdowns in the 10 games that he has started.

“Cut your losses,” a scouting director told Lombardo.

Averaging an NFL low 14.3 points per game, everyone in the Broncos facility knows that something needs to change.

Is George Paton on the Hot Seat?

In his second season as general manager of the Broncos, Paton’s name has been mentioned and put on notice.

“No way of overcoming this season. I like George [Paton] but he made this hire and trade for Wilson which puts him on notice,” the scouting director told Lombardo.

During his first season as the general manager of the Broncos, Paton decided to keep Denver’s struggling head coach Vic Fangio who had gone 12-20 in the previous two seasons. The following year, Paton’s head coach finished 7-10 before making a tough decision to fire the defensive minded guru.

In his first NFL draft, Paton could’ve easily drafted Justin Fields, who looks to have found his rhythm over the last five games for the Bears. Instead, Paton drafted what he called, “The safest pick in the draft” in cornerback Patrick Surtain ll.

Surtain has played like an All-Pro player, but most importantly, teams that have the most success in the NFL have elite quarterbacks.

Seattle Seahawks general manager, Jon Schneider, reached out to Paton in the previous offseason and told him that Wilson was available and wanted to play for Denver. Paton went ahead and made one of the biggest trades in NFL history for his future franchise quarterback, but it’s looking like it could be one of the worst of all-time.

Not only does the trade look bad, but giving Wilson an extension looks bad too.

The Broncos signed Wilson to a 5-year extension worth $245 million with $165 million guaranteed before the regular season started.

According to my sources, it wasn’t Paton that was in a hurry to get his deal done, it was Wilson’s agent Mark Rodgers. Before the Broncos ever saw Wilson take a snap in a regular season game, they gave him a monster deal that ownership can’t be excited with.

Does Anybody Want to end up in Denver?

When the Broncos were in the playoffs year-after-year during the Peyton Manning era, 2012-2015, many free agents wanted to play in Denver and they made sure to sign there.

In the offseason of 2014, the Broncos were able to sign DeMarcus Ware, Aqib Talib, T.J Ward, and Emmanuel Sanders. All would end up helping the Broncos raise the team’s third championship banner in 2016.

Based off what how the Broncos have played this season, it doesn’t seem like Denver would be a top destination for free agents in the 2023 offseason.

“[Wilson] looks done,” the scouting director said. “But they are married to-
him. So, they need to build around him for next year. But good luck getting free agents.”

Even though Paton is very well respected across NFL front offices, certain head coaching candidates might not want to take Denver’s head coaching job if it’s available.

“Remember, none of the really good candidates will want that job,” the scouting director told Lombardo.

Certain first-time head coaching candidates might decide to take the job if it’s offered to them because they want a head coaching job, but there might be a chance where a candidate like former Saints head coach Sean Payton or Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn might decide to go elsewhere where the quarterback is not struggling.

It’s fair to say that changes are likely to come for the Broncos, but how big of changes remains the mystery in Denver.