By Romi Bean

DENVER (CBS4) – The Denver Broncos are spending the weekend searching for a new general manager. Less than a week ago, John Elway announced he is stepping down as general manager of the Denver Broncos after 10 seasons. He’ll remain president of football operations in 2021.

The club interviewed George Paton and Champ Kelly on Friday, plus Dave Ziegler, Terry Fontenot, and Brian Stark on Saturday.

Here’s a look at the top 5 candidates:

George Paton is currently the Vice President of Player Personnel/Assistant General Manager for the Minnesota Vikings, a position he’s held since 2007. Paton has also worked for the Miami Dolphins and the Chicago Bears. He was the first candidate interviewed by the Broncos brass. In fourteen years with Minnesota, Paton has acquired and/or re-signed 26 players with a combined 55 Pro Bowl appearances with the team.

Champ Kelly is currently serving as the Assistant Director of Player Personnel for the Chicago Bears, but he also has extensive history in Denver. Kelly was with the Broncos for nearly a decade, serving the roles of Northeast Region College Scout (2007), Assistant Coordinator of Pro and College Scouting (2008), and Assistant Director of Pro Personnel, Denver Broncos (2010-14). Kelly also worked with Vic Fangio in Chicago when Fangio was the Bears defensive coordinator from 2015 – 2018.

Dave Ziegler is the Assistant Director of Player Personnel for the New England Patriots. Ziegler also has history with Denver, serving as an area scout for the Broncos in 2011 and as a Pro Scout in 2012. Ziegler has been with the Patriots since. Denver interviewed Ziegler Saturday morning.

Terry Fontenot is the VP/Assistant General Manager – Pro Personnel, New Orleans Saints, a position he’s held since 2015. Fontenot has 16 years of front office experience in New Orleans. Leading the pro personnel department for the last six seasons, Fontenot’s decisions have helped the Saints win the NFC South in each of the last four seasons.

Brian Stark is the only in-house candidate the Broncos will be interviewing for the GM position. Stark has been with the Broncos for eight seasons in various roles. Since 2017, he’s held the role of Director of College Scouting for the Broncos. Stark has helped the Broncos compile draft classes in recent years that include blue-chip players like Bradley Chubb, Courtland Sutton, Noah Fant and Jerry Jeudy.

Other potential candidates include, Adam Peters (Vice President of Player Personnel, San Francisco 49ers), Thomas Dimitroff (General Manager, Atlanta Falcons) and John Spytek (Director of Player Personnel, Tamp Bay Buccaneers)

Romi Bean