What caused Cal McNair to disregard Korn Ferry’s G.M. finalists?

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When the Texans officially introduce G.M. Nick Caserio on Friday, owner Cal McNair will participate in the virtual press conference. And McNair will face plenty of questions regarding the process that resulted in the hiring of Caserio.

The first question could be this: Why did you hire someone who wasn’t on the list of finalists prepared by the Korn Ferry search firm? Whatever the fee paid (numbers like $250,000 and $600,000 are making the rounds), it was a lot of money. And, for whatever reason, McNair went off the board. This is the opportunity to ask him to explain the reason(s) for doing so.

Other questions could be asked after that one. For example, were you considering firing Jack Easterby and did he, for example, come to your house and somehow change your mind? Also, what role did Easterby’s and Caserio’s agent, Bob LaMonte, play in this process?

Did LaMonte, for example, suggest that Caserio would be hired by a team like, for example, Carolina and that he would take, for example, Easterby with him?

Now that you have two LaMonte clients in key roles in the organization, should we assume that only coaching candidates represented by LaMonte will be considered for the coaching job?

McNair, and Caserio, likewise will face plenty of questions about the future of quarterback Deshaun Watson. They surely will say they’re not trading him. But what will they say about the current state of the relationship with Watson and how they plan to fix it?

The Texans have grossly mismanaged that relationship in recent weeks. Given that the have an objectively unqualified executive V.P. of football operations, it’s no surprise. Indeed, this is exactly what you get when you entrust such important duties to someone who has (to borrow a phrase that emerged this week in anther context) such a high ratio of ambition to accomplishment.

Of course, Jack Easterby won’t be present on Friday to face questions regarding his own role in the disintegration of the relationship with Watson; that’s one of the perks of not technically being a “football guy.” Still, those questions are critical to understanding the current status of the interplay between franchise and franchise quarterback. And Easterby may be the best one to answer them.

At a time when so many are saying, “There’s no way you trade a 25-year-old franchise quarterback,” the bigger point is this: There’s no way you let your relationship with a 25-year-old franchise quarterback get to the point where he’s sufficiently upset with you that he’s not answering your calls and he’s telling teammates he’s going to ask for a trade.

The Texans told him he’d have a seat at the table regarding the G.M. and coaching hires, and then they ignored what he brought to the table. Why involve him if you’re going to ignore him?

We think we know the answer to that question. And when today’s press conference unfolds, we’ll be listening carefully for words, phrases, or clauses that are code for a mindset that quite possibly still lingers in the organization, even after the passing of the man who said it.

We can’t have the inmates running the prison.”

25 responses to “What caused Cal McNair to disregard Korn Ferry’s G.M. finalists?

  1. A question that most likely be answered. If Korn leaks an answer to the media they won’t ne hired again and the Texans have no reason to answer the question. That is if he actually didn’t take their advice.

  2. As any good search would require, he used multiple search resources – some including those within the NFL itself and he chose to use the NFL experience to move forward with. I cant say that I blame him for going that route.

  3. Why hire Corn Ferry in the first place? Their track record for these NFL roles has been horrendous.

  4. McNair is a moron. Easterby is the EVP without experience. Watson does not deserve to have input on the HC/GM since he’s a player, but you ask then completely ignore his input. Should not have asked to begin with. It’s politics. Easterby was behind dealing Hopkins as well. BOB hired him and he promptly blamed BOB for everything. Seems like Easterby is staying. The only thing that MAY change that is if Watson says he is gone unless Easterby leaves. However that may just mean Watson does get out. Caserio is finally a GM but what a terrible situation to be in. Who knows if he even has authority on their team?

  5. I’m not a Texans fan (Giants). I don’t know any of these people. But this feels personal toward Easterbay. Would love a Q&A to figure out why that is.

    That said, the key question posed – why hire someone not on the list of finalists proposed by your consultants – is an easy one to answer. I expect McNair will say, “We informed Korn Ferry that Nick Caserio was already being considered as a candidate based upon the team’s discussions with him in 2019. They were advised to provide a list of candidates that did not include Mr. Caserio.” Or something to that effect.

    As to the other question posed – why do you involve your star QB in the process then not listen to him – the answer also seems easy. I expect McNair will say, “We spoke with Deshaun and seriously considered all of his input in the process. While Deshaun and Nick did not directly meet, we think Nick is just the type of GM that will help us maximize Deshaun’s potential and meets what Deshaun was looking for in a GM. We think they’ll have a great working relationship given time.”

    The truth is, people are given input all the time. But if the ultimate decision maker determines that their input doesn’t align with what the decision maker wants to do, that input is effectively disregarded. Any attorney would have experienced this – advise your client what to do then watch them take a different course. This happens millions of times every day. If that possibility didn’t exist, you wouldn’t ask your star QB for input – you’d let him handle the process.

  6. Uhhh because they have been a historically poorly run franchise. I mean they gave BOB all control and watched him trade away the future for absolutely nothing. After he failed for years at just being the coach they gave him more power? Yikes.

  7. Quite possible they explicitly asked for the frontrunner they already wanted and knew everything about to NOT be included on the list. It’s not uncommon for companies to have somebody in mind but get help with a list of other possibilities.

  8. Or another question would be, Why did you hire a GM from the Patriots staff when they are objectively bad at drafting?

  9. This job from a players on the roster is very favorable, however the hot mess they have going on at the upper levels of the organization make it least desirable.

  10. Though we like to think of teams as public trusts or somehow belonging to the fans, the truth is its his team and his money to do with whatever he wants. He really doesn’t have to answer to anyone. May suck as fans of such a team, but not a lot you can do other than stop following them or giving them any of your $$.

  11. 50Stars says:
    January 8, 2021 at 10:26 am
    As any good search would require, he used multiple search resources – some including those within the NFL itself and he chose to use the NFL experience to move forward with. I cant say that I blame him for going that route.
    ————————————————————————————————
    Lol , you can’t blame him for hiring Caserio who was recommended by the guy who turned the Texans into a raging dumpster fire . Have a feeling Watson disagrees with you .

  12. 50Stars says:
    January 8, 2021 at 10:26 am
    As any good search would require, he used multiple search resources – some including those within the NFL itself and he chose to use the NFL experience to move forward with. I cant say that I blame him for going that route.

    The problem is he did not USE multiple sources… he used ONE. Jack Easterby. You obviously have not been following what’s been happening with the Texans the last 2 seasons. As a Houston sports fan for last 50 years, I have never seen such an unaware owner disregard the players and the fan-base to a greater degree than Cal McNair has in his short time leading the organization. Its quite astonishing.

  13. I would reply, well Korn Ferry must not be great at their job and I am going to be asking for my money back. The fact that they did not include a guy who was available from the most successful franchise in the last 20 years tells me they don’t really know what they are doing. Together, Nick and BB built a very successful sustained team in NE

  14. bayoubrian says:

    The problem is he did not USE multiple sources… he used ONE. Jack Easterby.

    —————————
    They hired Korn Ferry to do a search and used their internal heads to do a search. They paid Korn ferry for the work. In the end – the texans chose to use their guys path forward. not one thing wrong with that. Most teams go that route during a coaching search.

  15. I remember when the Patriots traded draft picks to get a Head Coach who had a losing record in his only stint as an NFL head coach. Everyone said they were crazy. 19 straight winning seasons later, 6 Super Bowls, I think they knew what they were doing. I’m not saying Caserio is the equivalent to Bill Belichick, but what happens a lot is people get hired, everyone says they are wrong for hiring or right for hiring. If the critics turn out to be right, they tell everyone for years, if they turn out to be wrong, they never mention it again. No one commenting on this hire knows Nick Caserio, has ever worked with him, so their judgement means absolutely nothing.

  16. They’ll end up trading Watson and getting a haul in return. The question is, will that haul net them another franchise QB at some point?

  17. blessedunliketherest says:
    January 8, 2021 at 11:12 am
    I would reply, well Korn Ferry must not be great at their job and I am going to be asking for my money back. The fact that they did not include a guy who was available from the most successful franchise in the last 20 years tells me they don’t really know what they are doing. Together, Nick and BB built a very successful sustained team in NE
    ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
    Really? Then you’d be understanding if Caserio hired Matt Patricia to be HC, right?

  18. Anyone who says he shouldn’t have any opinion/input into these hirings has absolutely never run a business or managed personnel (successfully) in any way shape or form.
    Watson’s worth more to the Texans than their entire front office combined.

  19. Watson needs to quit acting like a spoiled brat and just earn the money he was given…he is by no means a star qb…most of his yards came in garbage time when they were already blown out..

  20. McNair wanted Caserio and was blocked two years ago. The Korn Ferry was either to try to validate his pick (he didn’t) or to provide a backup list in the event Caserio didn’t join.

  21. Maybe the Texans are trying to rival (copy) the Jets in more ways than just a dismal regular season record. They have certainly been a circus act this year. Surrendering that circus trophy to the Texans would be something, given how many years the Jets have owned it. I for one would like to see a change there, and it certainly seems like the Texans are doing their part to claim it.

  22. Belichick offered glowing praise of Caserio in a statement Friday.

    “Nick Caserio is one of the hardest working, dependable and team-oriented people I have worked with and his ability to handle a wide array of responsibilities is unique,” the head coach’s statement read.

    “Nick’s contributions came on a daily basis and ultimately led to years of success and six championships, for which I am very appreciative. He did an excellent job for us and is extremely deserving of the opportunity to be a general manager.”

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