As the Texans begin to line up candidates to replace Brian Gaine as the team’s General Manager, the process may be starting, as many of theses processes do, with a top choice in mind.
John McClain of the Houston Chronicle believes the top choice may be Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio.
McClain explains that Caserio was the top choice in early 2018, when the Texans hired Gaine to replace Rick Smith. But the Patriots blocked the move in 2018, and it’s possible the move will be blocked now.
Ultimately, the question depends on whether the Patriots blocked the move in January 2018 because their season had not ended, or because the job did not constitute the kind of job that allows one team to hire an executive from another team, regardless of whether the other team consents to it.
The relevant league policy requires that, in order to hire an executive under contract with another team, the new team must offer “the primary authority over all personnel decisions related to the signing of free agents, the selection of players in the College Draft, trades, and related decisions; and . . . the primary responsibility for coordinating other football activities with the head coach.”
Although “[f]inal authority regarding the composition of the 53-player roster is not a requirement,” the job nevertheless must convey primary authority to the G.M. If it doesn’t, request for permission to interview an executive under contract with another team can be denied.
The final analysis entails a delicate balance of the power the team is willing to give to the G.M., along with the power contractually reserved to the head coach. If coach Bill O’Brien already has the kind of authority that otherwise would go to a strong G.M., the G.M. job in Houston essentially becomes “G.M. Light,” lacking the kind of power that would allow the Texans to pry Caserio away from the Patriots.
Then there’s the question of whether Caserio wants to leave. Not infrequently, an executive who doesn’t want to interview for a job asks that it be framed as a denial of permission, taking the focus away from the candidate.
Without the Texans disclosing the full details of O’Brien’s contract and/or the job description of the G.M. position post-Gaine, it’s impossible to know whether the Patriots or any other team can deny permission. If that’s the case, however, the Texans may be relegated to candidates who currently aren’t under contract with an NFL team.