Brian Gaine

South Rumors: Jaguars, Hooker, Texans

The Jaguars would have an interesting setup for Lamar Jackson, employing a recently extended starting quarterback but a long-scrutinized player whose long-term future with the team remains in doubt. Tom Coughlin said Friday the Louisville prospect was an “outstanding young man” and an “extremely talented athlete.” But Dave Caldwell said the team that pulls the trigger on Jackson would have to be ready to adjust its offense to accommodate the dual-threat talent.

He’s a rare athlete,” Caldwell said, via Phillip Heilman of the Florida Times-Union. “As a quarterback, he’s a good player. He won a lot of games at that position. [Drafting him] depends what your scheme is, what you want to do and how you want to play and how he fits. I can’t say he’s the prototypical pocket passer, but you can win games with a guy like him.”

Jacksonville holds the draft’s No. 29 overall pick and has not conducted a workout with Jackson, who may now be a full-fledged top-20 prospect.

Here’s the latest from the South divisions:

  • Caldwell did not give an indication on which way he was leaning with regards to picking up Dante Fowler‘s fifth-year option. The Jacksonville GM said the team had not made a decision. Earlier today, Fowler’s price became clear. It will cost the Jaguars a massive sum ($14.2MM) to keep Fowler on their books for 2019 on his rookie contract.
  • On the subject of AFC South pass rushers, Brian Gaine is optimistic the Texans will extend Jadeveon Clowney this offseason. But Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports no deal is particularly close at this point. Clowney, Aaron Donald and Khalil Mack figure to see the others members of this trio’s deals affect theirs, and Von Miller may become the fourth-highest-paid defender by the time this offseason is over.
  • Gaine does not plan to deviate from Rick Smith‘s philosophy of setting the offseason as the window for extension agreements. John McClane of the Houston Chronicle notes the first-year Houston GM wants to finalize re-ups before the regular season. Clowney and Benardrick McKinney‘s proceedings will put this approach to the test this year.
  • Malik Hooker joined his Colts teammates for the start of their offseason program earlier this month but said (via Matt Taylor of Colts.com) he’s “not 100 percent by any means” as he recovers from a severe knee injury. Colts.com’s Andrew Walker writes training camp isn’t a certainty for the 2017 first-rounder, who went down in late October of last year with a torn ACL and MCL.
  • Former Broncos and Bears linebacker Lamin Barrow was driving the car at the time of the accident that ended with Buccaneers ‘backer Kendell Beckwith fracturing an ankle, Jenna Laine of ESPN.com reports. Barrow and Beckwith were LSU teammates. The crash occurred at around 1 a.m., April 12. The vehicle veered off a road and crashed into a gate, per Laine. Although authorities said Barrow did not show signs of impairment, he was given a citation for driving with a suspended license.

Texans Hire GM Brian Gaine, Extend HC Bill O’Brien

The Texans have locked up their head coach and general manager duo for the foreseeable future. ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter reports (via Twitter) that the organization has handed out “matching” contracts to coach Bill O’Brien and new GM Brian Gaine. The new GM received a five-year pact, while O’Brien signed a four-year deal. The new contracts will keep the pair in Houston through the 2022 season.

Bill O'BrienWe learned earlier this week that the Texans were expected to hire Gaine as their new general manager. The former Bills vice president of player personnel is returning to Houston after only a single season in Buffalo. Gaine previously served as the Texans director of player personnel before moving on last offseason. The executive had garnered plenty of attention over the past several years, having interviewed for GM gigs in Philadelphia, San Francisco, New York, and Chicago.

Meanwhile, we also heard rumblings that the Texans were looking to extend O’Brien, whose contract was set to expire following the 2018 campaign. There were rumors throughout the season that O’Brien could be let go, as the coach was engaged in a constant power struggle with former general manager Rick Smith. However, O’Brien ultimately assisted in the team’s search for a new GM, an indication that he was apart of the team’s future plans. The 48-year-old has spent the past four seasons in Houston, compiling a 31-33 record and a pair of playoff appearances.

The Texans weren’t finished refining their front office. Mark Berman of Fox 26 in Houston tweets that the organization also promoted Chris Olsen from vice president/administration to senior vice president/administration. Olsen was responsible for negotiating the deals with Gaine and O’Brien, and he also manages the team’s salary cap.

With Gaine and O’Brien locked up, the Texans can now shift their focus to the offseason. It may be difficult to add young talent, as Houston will be operating without their first- and second-round picks. However, they’ll be armed with around $56MM in cap space, which could allow them to make a big splash in free agency.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans To Hire Brian Gaine As GM

The Texans are expected to make Bills vice president of player personnel Brian Gaine their next general manager, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link).Brian Gaine (vertical)

Gaine, who interviewed for the Houston position on Tuesday, had been considered the favorite for the job. He’ll make his return to the Texans — with whom he previously served as director of player personnel — after a single season in Buffalo. Gaine has drawn GM interest around the league in the past, and he’s interviewed for positions in Philadelphia, San Francisco, New York, and Chicago over the past several seasons.

While Gaine was the frontrunner to become Texans general manager, Houston did have a lengthy list of initial candidates. However, the Texans were declined permission to interview the Patriots’ Nick Caserio and Monti Ossenfort and the Eagles’ Joe Douglas, while the Packers’ Brian Gutekunst and the Cowboys’ Will McClay declined to interview. Texans assistant GM Jimmy Rye III was the only candidate other than Gaine to actually interview.

Gaine will be strapped to add talent via the draft in his first season as Texans GM, as Houston has already traded away both its first- and second-round picks. However, the Texans could make hay during the free agent period, as the club ranks sixth in 2018 cap space with roughly $56MM available.

As PFR’s 2018 GM Tracker indicates, both of the general manager vacancies in the NFL have now been filled: Gaine in Houston, and Gutekunst in Green Bay.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Texans To Interview Jimmy Raye III, Brian Gaine For GM Post

Mentioned as a possible candidate for the Texans’ GM job, Jimmy Raye III will have a chance to state his case for a promotion.

The Texans are interviewing Raye on Monday for the vacant GM job, Mark Berman of Fox 26 tweets. Raye currently works as the franchise’s assistant GM and vice president of football operations.

Houston also scheduled a meeting with former exec Brian Gaine, who is now with the Bills. The Texans will meet with Gaine on Tuesday, John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reports (on Twitter).

The Bills’ current VP of player personnel is viewed as the favorite to take over for Rick Smith while he’s on a leave of absence. McClain also views Gaine as the favorite but notes Raye saw his responsibilities increase because Smith was spending additional time caring for his ailing wife (Twitter links).

Raye has worked in his current role for less than a year. Houston hired Raye in May to replace Gaine, who moved to Buffalo upon Brandon Beane becoming the Bills’ GM. Raye interviewed to become the Colts’ GM and operated as Indianapolis’ interim GM in between Ryan Grigson and Chris Ballard‘s tenures while also meeting with 49ers brass about San Francisco’s 2017 GM vacancy. Raye worked with the Colts for four years and spent 17 with the Chargers.

Gaine has interviewed for several GM jobs in over the past few years, doing so most recently with the Bills in May. He spent three seasons with the Texans and carries 19 years of NFL experience.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Texans, Cowboys Exec Will McClay

Cowboys vice president of player personnel Will McClay says he has permission to speak with the Texans regarding their vacant general manager position, but he has yet to be contacted by Houston, as Todd Archer of ESPN.com writes. John McClain of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link) reported earlier today that McClay had declined to interview with the Texans. Houston requested permission to interview McClay earlier this morning.Texans Helmet (Vertical)

As PFR’s 2018 General Manger Search Tracker indicates, the Texans’ list of potential candidates is quickly winnowing, as they’ve been denied permission to interview the Eagles’ Joe Douglas and the Patriots’ Nick Caserio and Monti Ossenfort. Brian Gutekunst, meanwhile, was expected to interview in Houston but was promoted to become Green Bay’s GM earlier today.

While internal candidate Jimmy Raye III has also been mentioned as an option for the Texans, the clear favorite for the position is Bills vice president of player personnel Brian Gaine. Peter Schrager of NFL.com reported last week that Gaine — who previously spent three years in Houston — was the frontrunner for the vacancy, and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link) reiterated today that Gaine should be expected to return to the Texans.

Packers To Hire Brian Gutekunst As GM

The Packers are promoting their director of player personnel, Brian Gutekunst, to general manager, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports (via Twitter) that it will be a five-year deal for Gutekunst.

Brian Gutekunst (vertical)

Gutekunst is highly respected in scouting circles, and Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com writes that Gutekunst is the most well-rounded scout in Green Bay’s personnel department. Demovsky adds that Gutekunst dazzled Packers’ brass in his recent interview with the club.

Green Bay elected to hire Gutekunst, who has a strong personnel background, as opposed to fellow internal candidate Russ Ball, who is more of a salary cap guru (despite the fact that Ball was seen as the frontrunner throughout much of this process). In addition to Ball, the team also interviewed director of football operations Eliot Wolf, who for years was seen as the heir apparent to longtime GM Ted Thompson. Thompson, of course, stepped down to a different role within the organization at the beginning of the month, thereby triggering the team’s search for a replacement. It will be interesting to see what will become of Wolf and Ball now.

The Packers also expressed interest in Vikings assistant GM George Paton — though Minnesota denied Green Bay’s request to interview Paton — Seahawks GM John Schneider, and Ravens assistant GM Eric DeCosta. But in Gutekunst, they get an executive who was been with the club for 19 years — he started his Packers tenure as a collegiate scout — and who appears ready for his chance to run a franchise. Indeed, he had an excellent interview with the 49ers last offseason and nearly became San Francisco’s GM.

As Ed Werder tweets, an internal hiring like this one may be good news for Packers head coach Mike McCarthy, whose long-term future with the team could be bolstered with Gutekunst’s promotion.

Gutekunst was scheduled to interview with the Texans for Houston’s GM job today. Per John McClain of the Houston Chronicle (via Twitter), Gutekunst did travel to Houston yesterday and had dinner with Texans head coach Bill O’Brien, but Green Bay never gave him the chance to interview with with the Texans.

The Texans, meanwhile, are likely to hire Bills VP of player personnel Brian Gaine as their next GM, according to multiple sources.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Frontrunner Emerges For Texans GM Job

A favorite has emerged in the Texans’ GM search. Bills executive Brian Gaine is the favorite for the role, according to Peter Schrager of NFL.com (on Twitter). Brian Gaine (vertical)

As shown on PFR’s 2018 NFL General Manager Search Tracker, Gaine appears to be up against Nick Caserio and Monti Ossenfort of the Patriots, Brian Gutekunst of the Packers, Eagles VP of player personnel Joe Douglas, Cowboys VP of player personnel Will McClay, and internal candidate Jimmy Raye III.

Gaine was hired away from Houston last year when he was tabbed to be the Bills’ vice president of player personnel. Gaine spent three years with the Texans and it sounds like he could be poised to return as the head honcho.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Texans’ GM Search

The Texans’ GM search is just getting underway, but we’re already getting an idea of the names that could be in play for the job. External candidates expected to receive interest include Nick Caserio and Monti Ossenfort of the Patriots, Brian Gaine of the Bills, and Brian Gutekunst of the Packers (Twitter link via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com). Nick Caserio (vertical)

[RELATED: Browns Ask To Talk With Texans’ Sean Ryan]

Caserio is among this year’s top candidates for a GM position. While he rejected overtures from other teams before, a prime opportunity like the one in Houston could be the one to get him to leave New England. Some have speculated that he could wind up as a package deal with Josh McDaniels as head coach, but it sounds like Bill O’Brien will be retained by the Texans.

The Texans are on the hunt for a new GM after Rick Smith announced he would be taking a leave of absence to care for his wife, who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. When Smith does return to the team, he’ll retain his Executive Vice President title, but he indicated that he will not be in charge of football decisions.

In whatever role that is, I am going to maintain Executive Vice President title. If we hire a GM and have a guy to run the personnel, then we’ll do that,” Smith said. “So, again, it’s a fluid process, but I am absolutely intend on coming back, I will maintain that at least the Executive Vice President title and if Mr. McNair feels like he wants to hire a general manager, then he will hire a general manager and that will be just fine.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Extra Points: Redskins, Packers, Cowboys

The Redskins auditioned Josh Norman’s older brother, Marrio Norman, as Nora Princiotti of the Washington Times writes. “Josh has been touting him pretty hard for the last year and a half, so we wanted to give him a shot and give him a look,” head coach Jay Gruden said. “You know, he’s got a skill set. I’ll tell you what, he’s a good player. He’s played in a couple different leagues and runs around out there good.” The elder Norman, who also plays cornerback, last spent time on an NFL roster in 2014 (Baltimore), and also boasts three stints in the Arena Football League.

Here’s more from around the NFL:

  • Lane Taylor has earned a $400K raise for the 2017 season after reaching performance escalators last year, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN.com. Taylor, who became the Packers‘ starting left guard after the club surprisingly released Josh Sitton, will now take in a base salary of $2.25MM. Scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next spring once his two-year deal runs out, Taylor graded as the league’s No. 41 guard among 72 qualifiers in 2016, per Pro Football Focus.
  • The Cowboys will officially gain $14MM in cap space on June 2 when Tony Romo‘s release becomes official, and Dallas could use that savings to ink guard Zack Martin to a long-term extension, as Todd Archer of ESPN.com speculates. Martin, 26, is currently signed through the 2018 season thanks to the Cowboys exercising his fifth-year option, but executive VP Stephen Jones has called a Martin deal a “big priority.” As Archer details, Dallas could conceivably frontload Martin’s next contract in an attempt to fully realize the benefit of quarterback Dak Prescott‘s cheap rookie deal.
  • The Texans could find it difficult to replace executive Brian Gaine, whom the Bills hired as vice president of player personnel on Monday, Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com details. Gaine had acted as something of a liaison between Houston’s coaching staff and front office, a critical role in an organization where decision-makers haven’t always “been on the same page,” per Breer. In Buffalo, Gaine will oversee the Bills’ pro and college scouting departments.

Extra Points: Bolts, Bills, Lechler, Seahawks

After parting ways with Orlando Franklin with three years remaining on his deal, the Chargers are going to have a revamped offensive line in 2017. But they will be doing some rearranging on their own as well. Matt Slauson functioned at center for the 2016 Bolts, but the former Jets and Bears guard looks like he’s going to be moving back to his original position. The second-year Charger worked at left guard during the team’s voluntary minicamp last month, Dan Woike of the San Diego Union-Tribune notes. Franklin lined up at left guard the past two years for the Bolts. Slauson played center, and graded as Pro Football Focus’ No. 18 player there last season, but he was a left guard starter for his first five-plus seasons in the league. Slauson moved to center with the 2015 Bears due to a Hroniss Grasu injury. New Bolts HC Anthony Lynn was the Jets’ running backs coach throughout Slauson’s time with Gang Green.

Woike adds that Forrest Lamp has begun working at right guard, where D.J. Fluker played in 2015-16, and Indiana Dan Feeney took early reps at center. That would be a way to get both Day 2 picks in the lineup, along with Slauson. A 2016 third-round pick, Max Tuerk could also factor into the equation at center.

Here’s more from around the league.

  • In moving from the Texans to the Bills, Brian Gaine made a lateral move in Brandon Beane‘s eyes. As Bills VP of player personnel, Gaine will oversee the Bills’ pro and college scouting departments while reporting directly to Beane, Mike Rodak of ESPN.com reports. Beane, of course, beat out Gaine for the Buffalo GM job. But the New York native saw enough in the Bills’ offer to move over from a similar job with what’s been a more successful franchise to the franchise with the longest active postseason drought among American major pro sports teams.
  • Speaking of the Texans, Shane Lechler‘s 2017 deal will contain a $500K signing bonus, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports. The 40-year-old punter re-signed with Houston for $2MM this year and doesn’t sound like retirement is especially close. This will be his 18th season. Despite being regarded as one of the greatest punters in NFL history, Lechler at this point is a middle-of-the-pack player in terms of salary. He’ll be making $200K more than last season.
  • The Seahawks don’t plan to play Malik McDowell as a defensive tackle, but rather as an interior player on passing downs, Sheil Kapadia of ESPN.com notes, adding that Pete Carroll wants him to operate in a Michael Bennett-like capacity. That means McDowell may be a second-stringer as a rookie but play multiple positions. While Carroll said the second-round pick would see time at the three-technique spot in Seattle’s 4-3 scheme, he doesn’t view the Michigan State product as a pure tackle. “We’ll play him a little more at defensive end,” Carroll said, per Kapadia. “He played inside a lot. He was over the center a lot, and he doesn’t look like that kind of player in our system to us.” The Seahawks still have 2016 second-rounder Jarran Reed and Ahtyba Rubin at defensive tackle, along with third-round rookie Nazair Jones.
  • The Eagles did not sign safety Weston Steelhammer after inviting the Air Force alum to their rookie minicamp. One of three Air Force products to receive a tryout over the weekend, Steelhammer sits in limbo after the Department of Defense reversed its more lenient ruling just before the draft. If nothing changes, Steelhammer and more prominent Air Force prospect Jalen Robinette must serve for two years before beginning an NFL career. “Things didn’t work out how we thought or how we hoped, but everything happens for a reason,” Steelhammer said, via Dave Zangaro of CSNPhilly.com. “I’ll just try to make the most of it.”