If I've learned one thing over the last couple weeks, it's that on Fridays in June 2019, there is a high percentage chance that we will get some sort of Houston Texans bombshell dropped on us. At least, that's what we are on pace for. Two Fridays ago, on June 7, Brian Gaine was fired from his post as Texans' general manager. Last Friday, June 14, the Texans backed out of their pursuit of Patriots' director of player personnel Nick Caserio to replace Gaine
in direct exchange for the Patriots' withdrawing tampering complaints against the Texans.
My GUESS is that nothing nearly as newsworthy as those two items occurs today, but it's not like I woke up either of those Fridays expecting those news dumps, so we shall see. For now, it appears that the Texans are ready to head to training camp at the end of next month with their general manager slot vacant, and likely head into the season with a GM power sharing situation, with head coach Bill O'Brien, EVP of Team Development Jack Easterby, salary cap guru Chris Olsen, and the scouting department collaborating to muck their way through the 2019 season as a multi-headed GM figure.
At some point, there will be a permanent general manager, or if not a GM in title, a permanent GM-type structure installed. It could happen before the 2019 season, it could happen right after the 2019 season, or it could happen after the 2020 draft. By my count, there are eight possible scenarios. Here are the odds on each one of them:
Wait out Caserio's Patriots contract through the 2020 NFL Draft, and hire him ... +250
Caserio was the only candidate that the Texans took a big swing at during this brief week-long search, and we know Caserio's contract is up after the 2020 draft, so it would be logical, if the Texans aren't interviewing candidates, that they are waiting to make another run at Caserio next spring.
Hire a new general manager (not named Caserio) before the 2019 season ... +300
If we start to hear some non-Caserio candidate names in the next few weeks, this option will pick up steam. Names that have been mentioned by prominent media members include Cleveland front office guys Alonzo Highsmith and Eliot Wolf, former Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie, and former Patriots and Chiefs exec Scott Pioli.
Hire a new general manager (not named Caserio) after the 2019 season ... +400
This is the most likely option if the Texans' 2019 season craters to the point that Bill O'Brien doesn't survive as the head coach — hire a new coach, punt on trying to recreate Patriots South, and find the best general manager candidate possible.
Trade for Nick Caserio before the 2019 season ... +400
The Texans and Patriots reportedly discussed a trade for Caserio last week, but the price was too high for the Texans to pull the trigger (a first round pick may have been the asking price), so the Texans wisely let things cool off a bit. As training camp approaches, maybe the talks rekindle, and the Patriots dial down their demands.
Trade for Nick Caserio after the 2019 season, but before the 2020 NFL Draft ... +800
Caserio's contract reportedly runs through the 2020 draft, so if the Texans are truly of mind to wait out his entire deal before hiring him, then we are faced with the slightly terrifying scenario of O'Brien and Easterby running the team's 2020 draft. So maybe a solution, to get Caserio a few months early, is a trade of a later round draft pick, like a fifth rounder, at best.
Make Jack Easterby the general manager ... +1,200
OK, now we are down the rabbit hole. Gregg Bedard, founder of the Boston Sports Journal website, basically proposed that Texans EVP of Team Development, Jack Easterby, a chaplain by trade, is unhitching some nefarious scheme to become an NFL general manager. I'll let Bedard take it from here:
"And in keeping with Billions, sources have not ruled out that this entire Caserio scheme was put in motion by Easterby/Lamonte — and that Bill O’Brien, Caserio and the Krafts were unknowing pawns in Easterby’s power play. Easterby knows all of the particulars involved intimately. He could have coaxed O’Brien and owner Cal McNair to make a play for Caserio, despite knowing Caserio’s contract status. Easterby would have known that making a play for Caserio around the ring ceremony — a holy day on the Kraft Family calendar — would anger them to no end and possibly lead to warfare against the Texans. The fallout would be the Patriots drawing a hard line and holding Caserio to his contract, and O’Brien balking at sending a draft pick in compensation for Caserio when he would be a free agent in less than a year. That would leave a power void in Houston for Easterby himself to step into once he ingratiates himself in the organization. … We’re only a few steps away from Easterby sidling up to McNair and being in a position to take over Texans’ entire football operations if O’Brien is fired after this season."
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Ok then... +1,200, it is!
Go with a "GM by committee" permanently ... +1,800
While Bedard is out here throwing some Easterby stuff against the wall to see if it sticks, I think that this is the scenario that most Texans fans think O'Brien has been angling for since he defeated Rick Smith in their power struggle two years ago. Keeping the currently temporary structure in place, and making it permanent following the 2019 season, would essentially make O'Brien the Belichick of Houston, with de facto final say over all things football related. However, in order to even make this an option, the Texans need to have a dynamite 2019 season, and I don't think theirs is a schedule set up to do that.
Cal McNair channels his inner Jerry Jones ... +50,000
This would be incredible — Cal McNair literally declaring that he's watched how owner Jerry Jones has done things in Dallas the last three decades (where Jones is not just the de facto GM, but the ACTUAL GM) and announcing that "What's good for the Cowboys is great for the Texans!" and immediately start giving hot takes on random college football players. This will never happen, but if the chaos of the last few weeks is one giant smokescreen for Cal to declare himself king of the entire Texans world, my popcorn is ready!