In one of the more unusual stories of the NFL offseason, theNew England Patriots filed tampering charges against the Houston Texans earlier this week after Houston attempted to steal away Nick Caserio, New England’s director of player personnel, to fill their vacant general manager position. There are a lot of unconfirmed reports about the story, but it wrapped up without much controversy, and the Texans agreed to step back from the situation.
The Texans are now left without a general manager. John McClain reports that a central reason the Texans dropped their pursuit of Caserio was because he has a clause in his contract preventing him from interviewing with other teams.
The Texans screwed this one up, to say the least. Brian Gaine, the GM they fired, only had one year to try and shore up the roster. While he didn’t successfully solve the team’s offensive line problem, that’s plagued them for several years, and would have been tough to solve in the span of two drafts and two free agency periods. From the outside, it appears his dismissal had more to do with the fact that the team had Caserio specifically in mind to lead their team than Gaine’s shortcomings, so they canned him in order to make it happen.
Yet they were unsuccessful because Caserio had a clause preventing this precise situation. Which is the sort of thing you’d figure a team would maybe look into before firing their current GM after they won their division and made a playoff appearance. But they did not, and are now stuck without a general manager and, apparently, without a backup plan. As any football fan knows, the general manager is a rather important part of a team’s structure. While they could make it work for a year and split up responsibilities until Caserio’s contract ends after next season, the fact that they even have to consider doing that at all shows a shocking lack of foresight before they embarked upon this journey.
Deshaun Watson is on his way to being one of the best QBs in the game. The Texans can’t afford to keep bungling their front office positions if they want to capitalize on his talents. The iron is hot in Houston, but after this Caserio situation, they may not be able to strike when the time is right. Watson hopefully has many quality years left in his career, but Houston only has so long before they have to pay up– and if Carson Wentz’ contract extension is any indication, it’ll be a hefty price tag.
The habit of contending teams in recent years has been to load up while their QBs are on their rookie contracts. Instead of doing the same, the Texans ownership has been playing musical chairs with the position in charge of leading them in that direction. Watson may just be good enough that it doesn’t matter, but still. A tough offseason so far in Houston.