Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio has apparently crossed the Rubicon in Foxboro. So when will he make his formal exit from an organization with which he has spent a generation?
His contract runs through the 2020 draft. After that, he’s free to leave. It makes sense to wonder whether he possibly would leave before then.
Although a trade technically isn’t permissible under the NFL’s tampering policy, nothing stops the league from fashioning an exception that would allow Houston to compensate New England for Caserio, especially in light of the contractual term that ostensibly keeps Caserio in place, no matter what the promotion may be. And it’s possible that, after coach Bill Belichick has a couple of weeks to digest the departure and to plan for Caserio’s replacement, maybe Belichick and the Patriots would feel better about not having a short-timer in the building.
Even if a deal isn’t done now, there’s a chance something could be done after the 2019 season ends. Really, why would the Patriots want to squat on Caserio for one last free agency and draft process that necessarily will see Caserio have reduced relevance and influence? (It’s hard to envision, for example, Caserio chiming in on the effort to find a potential replacement for Tom Brady in the draft.)
Here’s a reason to hold him in place: It keeps him from helping the Texans until after the major 2020 offseason tentpoles come and go, and it also keeps him from carrying to a new team the information he develops about the next class of free agents and rookies.
That said, Belichick likely will be very careful about sharing any strategic intelligence with Caserio. Which makes the team’s insistence on keeping around a guy who seems to be destined to leave even more curious.
But there’s still one potential outcome that could make all others moot: The Patriots and Caserio could decide to extend their relationship, with Caserio getting a new contract with extra money and perhaps enhanced authority in exchange for abandoning his apparent plan to leave.