In explaining that they would withdraw from the pursuit of Patriots director of play personnel Nick Caserio, the Texans made vague reference to certain contractual terms that tipped the scales. The terms, as it turns out, slammed the door.
John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reports that Caserio “has a clause in his contract that says he can’t interview with other teams.”
“We have now been made aware of certain terms in Nick’s contract with the Patriots,” Texans owner Cal McNair said in the statement regarding the decision to not pursue Caserio. “Once we were made aware of these contract terms, I informed Mr. Kraft that we would stop pursuing Nick.”
Given that the terms successfully persuaded the Texans to back off, it’s apparent that the terms are permissible, providing teams with a device for binding employees to teams notwithstanding the policy that permits teams to hire as General Managers executives from other teams who aren’t primarily responsible for the football operations. Although it’s entirely possible that the Patriots paid a premium for that promise, the fact remains that any team could now try to insert such language for non-G.M. jobs, providing a separate path to blocking a departure that otherwise would be allowed under league rules.