Are you tired of hearing about the Texans’ saga of firing Brian Gaine and trying to hire another general manager? Don’t be. There’s always more to see and read about what is probably the strangest story in the history of the franchise. This morning Albert Breer posted three Texans’ related takeaways in the MMQB piece he took over after Peter King left SI. Here’s what Breer had to say:
1. The Patriots/Texans showdown-that-never-was over Nick Caserio was interesting, and the fallout may not be finished. I’m told that the clause Caserio had in his contract that Texans owner Cal McNair referenced was one that prevented him from interviewing for jobs with other teams, and that term was secured as part of Caserio getting a raise somewhere along the line. What’s really interesting is that the Patriots have offered the same terms to others on the scouting side in the past to try to keep their staff in place. On one hand, it’s smart business to try to use leverage in a negotiation to establish continuity in a traditionally unstable industry. On the other, I can’t imagine it goes over great with someone like Caserio, who’s near the end of his deal and could view the Texans GM job as a unique opportunity for all the reasons we laid out last Monday. So why were the Patriots so hard-charging on this one? I don’t think there are issues between the Kraft and McNair families. I do, however, think there’s a little something there between the Patriots and new Houston EVP Jack Easterby, who left in the aftermath of Robert Kraft being charged in Florida and let it be known that was one reason why. And the resulting fallout to come? It will be interesting to see what Caserio does when his contract is up. And what the Texans do next.
2. While we’re there, my money right now would be on Houston moving into 2019 with Bill O’Brien leading the football operation, and director of player personnel Matt Bazirgan and director of college scouting James Liipfert heading up the personnel side and reporting to O’Brien. It may not be how the Texans drew it up, but this GM search was clearly a coordinated run at Caserio—the team interviewed ex-Browns GM Ray Farmer and ex-Lions GM/current Niners exec Martin Mayhew last weekend, then halted the process while it awaited permission on the top target. The Texans have to know it will be tough to find the right guy externally at this point in the calendar, especially considering perception of how the organization has handled it. It might make the most sense to go forward with the status quo, let Caserio’s contract expire, then try and hire him. Or call the Patriots back and offer a draft pick (I don’t think that’s happening, but it might be worth a shot if you’re McNair).
3. One more on the Texans: The team is vehemently denying the discrimination charges of ex-security coordinator Jeff Pope. Sources say Pope was fired for falsifying payroll documents, seeking overtime pay for hours he didn’t work. And those inside the organization have defended ex-GM Brian Gaine on this one, saying he doesn’t deserve this on his way out the door.
I think it’s for sure certain the Texans fired Gaine because they thought they could sign Nick Caserio away from New England; they wanted Caserio all along, and they opted against dealing with tampering charges that could have elongated this process and possibly cost the team assets. Houston may end up offering compensation for Caserio next year anyways; who knows?
Breer also discusses the discrimination charges brought against the Texans. We’ve been waiting to hear more information on this, and what Breer shares points to this being a case of a disgruntled fired employee trying to get more out of the sponge. We’ll have to wait and see if anything else comes from this.