Rick Spielman and George Paton were busy closing deals this week.

Spielman, the former Vikings general manager, sold his Twin Cities home within hours of putting it on the market, hopped a flight and closed on a house on the Gulf Coast of Florida.

Not a bad Plan B when the owner takes your keycard, eh?

Meanwhile, Paton was in Denver making "Trader Rick," his longtime Vikings boss, proud. Swinging the blockbuster trade for Russell Wilson, the second-year Broncos GM put his name at the head of the class of NFL Executive of the Year candidates as the league kicks off the free agency negotiating period at 11 a.m. Monday and flurries its way to the start of the new league year at 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Paton, who worked as Spielman's right-hand man from 2007 to '20, used a bounty of picks and players to acquire Wilson, finally correcting a mistake his predecessor and current Broncos President John Elway made when the Hall of Fame QB passed on Wilson for Brock Osweiler back in 2012.

That was the offseason Elway wooed Peyton Manning to Denver. Manning was 36 and coming off a fourth neck surgery, and he had missed the entire 2011 season.

In other words, Elway needed a youngster to groom behind Manning. He chose the 6-foot-7 pocket-passing Osweiler in the second round. Eighteen picks later, the Seahawks selected the 5-11 Wilson in the third round.

Elway's first indication that he messed up came a year later when a 25-year-old Wilson helped Seattle beat Manning and the Broncos 43-8 in Super Bowl XLVIII.

Two years later, Manning was on his last legs when he helped Denver upset Carolina in Super Bowl 50. Manning retired, Osweiler was a bust and the Broncos have gone six years without a quality quarterback or a playoff appearance since.

Enough's enough, Paton figured. Following the Rams' Matthew Stafford Blueprint for Instant Gratification, Paton upped the ante, sending Seattle two first-round picks, two second-rounders, a fifth-rounder, quarterback Drew Lock, defensive tackle Shelby Harris and tight end Noah Fant for Wilson and a fourth-round pick.

Days before doing this, Paton was at the scouting combine in Indianapolis. He was asked about the height — or lack thereof — of some of this year's quarterback prospects.

"I think height, as we've learned, there's some QBs that aren't over 6 feet who are dynamic," he said. "When I first got into the league, everyone wanted a 6-5 QB, right? Who could really throw it. Didn't matter if they moved.

"Well," he added, "the league's changed."

Indeed. And so have Denver's Super Bowl aspirations, despite residing in a division that now sports Patrick Mahomes and the six-time reigning AFC West champion Chiefs; Justin Herbert and the rising Chargers; Derek Carr and the Josh McDaniels-led Raiders; and the Wilson-Nathaniel Hackett tandem in Denver.

According to the website Over the Cap, 12 teams were more than $23 million under this year's $208.2 million salary cap as of Saturday morning. Even after adding Wilson and his $24 million cap figure, the Broncos still are 12th at $23.5 million available. Ironically, Wilson counts more against Seattle's 2022 salary cap — $26 million in dead money — than he does against Denver's.

Eight teams would list quarterback as their biggest need. Four of them rank among the top nine teams in available cap space, including No. 1 Indianapolis, which has $69.8 million to spend after unloading the overpaid Carson Wentz on Washington.

Meanwhile, in Denver, Paton has an elite QB, the No. 3-ranked scoring defense from last season, money to spend and, like Elway had with Manning back in 2012, an attractive free-agent destination.

Paton's biggest need now is a pass rush. The top edge rusher available is Von Miller.

Four months ago, Paton shipped Miller to the Rams for picks in the second and third rounds. Miller won his second Super Bowl, the Rams can't afford him, and now Miller is lighting up social media saying he would like to go back to Denver.

Paton could re-sign Miller to fill one need and then use the two picks he got for Miller in November to fill other needs, softening the blow of what he paid to land Wilson and positioning himself to avoid the same fate as his old Vikings boss suffered in January.