Chris Olsen

Texans Won’t Hire GM For 2019

For now, the Texans’ GM job will remain vacant, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Rather than hiring a GM for 2019, the Texans will divvy up the responsibilities among Matt Bazirgan, James Liipfert, Chris Olsen and Jack Easterby.

The Texans fired Brian Gaine earlier this summer in an attempt to quickly replace him with Patriots executive Nick Caserio. The Patriots blocked the move and accused Easterby of tampering with the under-contract employee at the Pats’ ring ceremony.

The inclusion of Easterby in the Texans’ upper management is noteworthy and a bit surprising. Easterby previously served as the Patriots’ chaplain before earning the title of Executive Vice President of Team Development in Houston. Now, it appears that he is wielding more influence than ever.

It has been widely speculated that the Texans are simply biding their time until Caserio’s contract with New England expires. Still, there’s a long way to go between now and the 2020 offseason and things can always change.

Texans Fire GM Brian Gaine

The Texans GM job is again vacant. The team announced Friday Brian Gaine will no longer serve in that capacity. Gaine began running Houston’s front office in January 2018.

Gaine signed a five-year contract with the Texans, so to see them move on at this juncture — and after the 2018 team compiled the second-most wins in franchise history — is stunning. Senior VP of football administration Chris Olsen will take over in the interim. The Texans went 11-5 and won the AFC South in 2018. They will now join the Jets in conducting a mid-offseason GM search, potentially set to meet with some of the same candidates.

Despite the short duration of Gaine’s tenure, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets no one incident is believed to have prompted this.

Prior to Gaine’s hiring, the Texans dealt with frequent friction in their front office. Reports of Rick Smith, who stepped away after the 2017 season to tend to his ailing wife, and Bill O’Brien butting heads emerged often. O’Brien signed a five-year deal when Gaine was hired and was believed to have a close relationship with him. O’Brien served on the search committee that produced the Gaine hire.

Prior to a 2017 stay in Buffalo as Bills player personnel director, Gaine spent three years with the Texans. Smith promoted from director of pro personnel to director of player personnel in 2015, but he left to take a job under Brandon Beane. Considering Smith received 12 years Texans GM — his first five seasons ending shy of the playoffs — this decision figures to have considerable fallout.

Gaine only oversaw two drafts as Houston’s top front office bastion, and thanks to Texans trades in 2017, the first did not involve first- or second-round picks. This year, Gaine used the Texans’ first-rounder on small-school tackle prospect Tytus Howard. This came after Deshaun Watson was sacked 62 times in 2018 — the most any quarterback has been dropped in a season since Jon Kitna in 2006.

Last year, the Texans sought interviews with seven candidates but ended up meeting with just two — Gaine and assistant GM Jimmy Raye III. Among those on Houston’s 2018 list: Joe Douglas, who is currently the favorite to become the next Jets GM. The Eagles denied the Texans permission to speak with Douglas last year, and the Patriots exercised the same action regarding execs Nick Caserio and Monti Ossenfort.

Before Smith vacated this post last year, the Texans had not had a GM vacancy since the Charley Casserly-to-Smith changeover in 2006.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.