The Patriots could, in theory, push their tampering case against the Texans with a level of zeal aimed at blowing up Houston’s pursuit of Nick Caserio, forcing the Texans to look elsewhere for Brian Gaine’s replacement. The Patriots could instead use the league’s procedures to force the Texans to pay a stiff penalty for violating the tampering rules, if that can be proven.
Or the Patriots and Texans could simply strike a deal.
One source with knowledge of the dynamics and personalities involved in this fight believes that, ultimately, a deal will be struck for compensation, with the Texans giving the Patriots a draft pick or two or something else and with Caserio becoming the new G.M. of the Texans. The reason is simple: If Caserio wants to go and is force to stay, things could get awkward for the Patriots.
And if Caserio wants to go, it means that his relationship with coach Bill Belichick essentially has been broken, and that Caserio prefers not to try to fix it. If, in the end, the G.M. job is closer to G.M. Light than true G.M. status, he’s really not leaving for something more but instead for something else. And that something else will be a football operation that has a long way to go to be as successful as the Patriots have been.
Whether a deal is struck quickly will hinge on whether the Texans are willing to give the Patriots whatever they’re willing to take for Caserio. It may take some time, allowing the tampering case to play out a bit, with New England putting a few of its card on the table. But it shouldn’t take much time, because the Texans need to hire a G.M. sooner than later.