Nick Caserio

East Rumors: Flowers, Jets, Caserio

Given several chances at left tackle with the Giants, Ereck Flowers may be set to receive another NFC East starting opportunity. This one will come with the Redskins, who as of now plan to use the former top-10 pick as a starter. Offensive line coach Bill Callahan said, via Les Carpenter of the Washington Post, Flowers is pegged to start opposite Brandon Scherff at left guard. Flowers, who started 48 games at tackle with the Giants and seven with the Jaguars from 2015-18 before moving to guard in Washington, lined up back at tackle during parts of Redskins minicamp because of Trent Williams‘ absence. While the first-round bust did not fare well in the public portion of the workouts, Washington remains optimistic. The Redskins drafted fourth-round guard Wes Martin (Indiana) but appear to have him set to develop behind Scherff and Flowers.

I see a lot of potential when we’ve moved tackles inside,” Callahan said, via Carpenter. “I think it gives us size, it gives us power. He’s long; he’s square. Obviously, he can play in the short area, so those are things we kind of identified during free agency that we liked, and we are trying to fit him into that mode. So it’s been a work in progress, we got a long ways to go yet, but he’s made a nice transition.”

Shifting first to the AFC, here is the latest from some of the NFL’s Eastern Time Zone-stationed franchises:

  • Colts VP of player personnel Rex Hogan becoming the Jets’ assistant GM may nix the franchise pairing two of its GM candidates in the front office. Bears exec Champ Kelly was linked to the Jets, but Rich Cimini of ESPN.com notes (Twitter link) the recent New York GM interviewee was the favorite for the job Hogan received. With Chad Alexander coming aboard as the Jets’ player personnel director and Phil Savage having also accepted a Jets job, the Jets are running out of prominent titles. This could keep Kelly in Chicago.
  • Hogan was still under contract with the Colts, Albert Breer of SI.com tweets, but Chris Ballard gave permission to allow for one of his top lieutenants to leave. Although Hogan and Ed Dodds were hired together, Cimini notes (on Twitter) Hogan served as the Colts’ No. 3 man in their decision-making hierarchy and will move to No. 2 with the Jets. This could put Hogan, who obviously helped the Colts in their rapid rebuild, on the GM radar in the near future.
  • Moving to a far more contentious process, Nick Caserio remains with the Patriots as their player personnel director. But with Caserio preparing to leave in 2020 — perhaps to become the Texans’ GM — Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk wonders how much input Bill Belichick‘s right-hand man will have over the next several months. Caserio’s contract runs through the 2020 draft, per Florio, but will Belichick clue in a potentially departing exec on the inner workings of his plans? In a draft when the Patriots could be (again) targeting a Tom Brady successor, the uncertainty around Caserio may force the Pats to turn to other execs during that research process.

Caserio Fallout: Pats, Texans, Kraft, Staff

The complex process that has taken shape since the Texans fired Brian Gaine still leaves the franchise without a GM, and, as of now at least, it looks like the Patriots will need to prepare for a front office shakeup in 2020.

Although the Texans are no longer pursuing top GM target Nick Caserio, and the Patriots have since dropped the tampering charges, the longtime Pats player personnel director is reportedly prepared to leave New England after his contract expires in 2020. The Texans are considering going without a GM this year, likely in hopes of landing Caserio next year, but they obviously run the risk of another potentially GM-needy team swooping in for the long-coveted executive.

Caserio may not be the only Pats exec on the market. Patriots college scouting director Monti Ossenfort‘s contract is believed to be up after this year as well, Albert Breer of SI.com notes. The Patriots made the unusual move to block Ossenfort from what would have been a major promotion last year, when the Texans requested to meet with both he and Caserio for the GM job that went to Gaine. Ossenfort has been with the Patriots for 15 years, having served in his current position for five.

The report about Caserio’s Patriots contract containing language that forbids him from meeting with another team, due to a raise the team gave him at some point, appears to be accurate. Not only does Caserio’s contract have this clause, but the Patriots offered a similar deal to members of their scouting department to try to keep the group intact, Breer adds. The Texans opted not to challenge this clause and thus take on Robert Kraft.

Another possible reason for the Patriots blocking Caserio from becoming the Texans’ GM: executive VP Jack Easterby‘s situation. Easterby left the Patriots to take a job with the Texans earlier this year and did so in part because Kraft was charged in the Florida prostitution sting, Breer reports. The ex-pastor and former Patriots character coach has become a key organizational voice early in his Houston tenure. Both he and Bill O’Brien have extensive Caserio ties.

The Texans have not conducted any GM interviews since the Caserio mess began, and Breer expects O’Brien to spend a year essentially running the team. Player personnel director Matt Bazirgan and college scouting director James Liipfert join Easterby as key Texans executives whose roles would stand to grow in a GM-less year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Nick Caserio Prepared To Leave Patriots

The tug-of-war that the Patriots and Texans engaged in over the past week or so ended with Houston in the mud and New England holding the prize, director of player personnel Nick Caserio. There are a number of theories as to why the Texans agreed to stop their pursuit of Caserio, but we learned on Friday that Caserio may have language in his contract with the Patriots that specifically forbids him from interviewing with any other team.

Indeed, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com believes that theory makes the most sense, and when Caserio signed his last extension with the Pats, Reiss says New England may have asked Caserio to not pursue any other openings in exchange for longer-term security and increased salary. Of course, the NFL’s anti-tampering clause could have superseded such a contractual provision if Houston elected to challenge it, but the Texans opted to avoid battle with one of the league’s most powerful owners, Robert Kraft. Speculatively, Caserio could have filed a grievance of some sort, but even if he were justified in so doing, he may have felt it was better for a GM hopeful like him to not go that route.

But Reiss says that Caserio does appear motivated to move on when contractual obstacles no longer prevent him from doing so, and we now know that Caserio’s contract expires after the 2020 draft. If Houston is dead set on Caserio, the club could wait for him and may not fill their GM vacancy in the interim, though that would seem to be a very risky strategy. But the Texans are not the only team who believe Caserio has what it takes to be a GM, and Caserio himself knows it.

As Reiss reports, Caserio is represented by influential agent Bob LaMonte, which came as a surprise to Reiss, who believed that Caserio represented himself. That suggests that Caserio is prepared to accept his big promotion when it comes, so New England will likewise need to be prepared to replace him.

As for the short-term relationship between Caserio and New England, Reiss believes the exec will be able to take any resentment he might be feeling towards the Pats out of the equation and smoothly transition back to his regular responsibilities. The fact that he could be running his own ship in 2020 will certainly help take the sting out of his missed opportunity with Houston.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Nick Caserio, Patriots, Texans

It’s been a tumultuous few days for the Patriots and Texans, as the two sides went back and forth regarding the availability of executive Nick Caserio. In an attempt to diffuse any lingering tension between the two organizations, Patriots owner Robert Kraft released a statement last night (via Twitter):

“The Houston Texans and New England Patriots have always had a great working relationship. We appreciate the way Cal McNair has handled this situation.”

To review, the Texans owner said yesterday that the organization learned of “certain terms” in Caserio’s contract and would no longer be pursuing the executive for the general manager opening. At the same time, New England had agreed to drop their tampering charges against Houston, which would seemingly end the entire ordeal.

Of course, nothing ever ends in the NFL. There have been plenty of additional opinions regarding the Caserio fiasco, which we’ve compiled below…

  • Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com explores the contract language that prevented Caserio from leaving New England for Houston, and the writer wonders if the terms violate league rules. Florio points to the NFL’s anti-tampering policy, which says “If . . . the inquiring club is prepared to offer a position as a high-level employee . . . the employer club may not deny the employee the opportunity to discuss and accept such employment.” Based on this description, Florio believes the anti-tampering clause would supersede any clause in Caserio’s contract.
  • Furthermore, if the Texans wanted to challenge the clause, the NFL may have had their back. A source told Florio that at least one other NFL team was employing a “non-high-level employee” with that kind of stipulation in their contract. The source said that one rival team attempted to challenge that clause, and the NFL ultimately invalidated the specific contract terms. In other words, if the Texans had challenged the Caserio clause, there’s a good chance they would have been successful.
  • Meanwhile, Florio wonders if the Patriots and Caserio will be able to repair their relationship, as it appears that the executive was focused on moving to Houston. If the relationship has deteriorated beyond repair, Florio believes the Patriots will “begin to implement a strategy for eventually replacing him.”

Extra Points: Texans, Patriots, Packers

The big story of the day has been the drama surrounding Patriots exec Nick Caserio. The Texans announced earlier today that they’d be backing down from their pursuit of Caserio, and the Patriots in turn agreed to drop tampering charges. The Texans’ statement from owner Cal McNair indicated there was a provision in Caserio’s contract they were unaware of, and now we have some clarity. It was initially thought he would be allowed to interview since the Texans’ job is a clear promotion, but Caserio apparently has language in his contract that specifically forbids him from interviewing with any other team.

Caserio’s contract ends right after the 2020 draft, sources told Tom Pelissero of NFL Network (Twitter link). Pelissero floats the possibility that the Texans could wait until then to hire a GM and then go after Caserio, which is in line with another recent report that indicated the Texans might go without a GM for the rest of the season. In a follow-up tweet Pelissero writes that “the call between Cal McNair and Robert Kraft was very cordial,” and that after the Texans learned of the contract language they “asked what a trade would cost,” but the Patriots declined. It’s fair to question why the Texans wouldn’t be aware of such language before they made it very clear that they wanted Caserio for the job, although that’s now a question for another day. Pelissero also was told that for now “the process will continue,” so it seems like they aren’t closing the door on hiring a GM for this year quite yet. Non-Caserio candidates reportedly include former GMs Ray Farmer, Martin Mayhew, Reggie McKenzie, and Scott Pioli.

Here’s more from around the league on a quiet Friday night:

  • The Texans aren’t the only team shuffling around their front office. The Packers promoted Richmond Williams to director of pro personnel and Brett Thiesen to college scout, per Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk.com. Williams is entering his twelfth year with the team, and originally joined Green Bay as a scouting intern all the way back in 2007. Green Bay’s power structure remains unchanged, with team president Mark Murphy and GM Brian Gutekunst still running the show.
  • In addition to everybody on their 90-man roster, the Colts also had a group of tryout players at their minicamp this week, per Joel Erickson of The Athletic (Twitter link). There were a couple of notable names trying out, including former Jaguars receiver/kick returner Jaydon Mickens. Mickens, a 2016 UDFA out of Washington, showed very well as a returner in 2017, but was placed on injured reserve with an ankle injury last October. The Jags elected not to tender him a contract after the season. It’s a bit surprising he hasn’t been able to resurface on anyone’s offseason roster yet.
  • Star Lions cornerback Darius Slay skipped the team’s minicamp, and is apparently undecided on when his holdout will end. “Time will tell” whether he shows up to training camp next month, per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. Slay still has two years left on his contract, but feels grossly underpaid. He’s set to earn about $12.5MM in 2019 and $10MM in 2020, which has him outside of the top-10 among cornerbacks in average annual value. Slay has already forfeited $250K in workout bonuses this offseason, and will be fined more if he doesn’t report soon. This will be an important situation to monitor, as Slay is Detroit’s best player on defense.

Patriots, Texans Could Ultimately Agree To Deal For Nick Caserio?

The Patriots on Wednesday filed tampering charges against the Texans, who are pursuing New England director of player personnel Nick Caserio for their open general manager position. Speculation arose that the Patriots could accept draft pick compensation in exchange for Caserio, and that indeed may be the ultimate resolution to this saga.

A source with “knowledge of the dynamics and personalities involved” believes Houston will ultimately send a draft choice (or perhaps multiple draft choices) to New England in order to land Caserio, reports Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. The reasoning here is that if Caserio truly wants to leave the Patriots but isn’t allowed to defect, operations in New England could become “awkward.”

As John McClain of the Houston Chronicle indicated yesterday, the Texans are willing to give Caserio full control of their 53-man roster, and are open to putting that stipulation in writing. However, the NFL may need to determine whether Caserio is considered a “high level employee,” which would prevent him from leaving the Patriots even for a perceived promotion.

New Texans vice president of player development Jack Easterby — a former Patriots staffer — is in the middle of the controversy, as New England reportedly believes he discussed Houston’s GM job with Caserio at the Patriots’ Super Bowl ring ceremony last week. But as Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com reported earlier today, Easterby and Caserio share the same agent, which could help the Texans deflect charges of tampering.

AFC East Notes: Jets, Patriots, Caserio

The Jets took a lot of flack for the timing of Mike Maccagnan‘s dismissal, but odds are that the hiring of Joe Douglas will make it all worthwhile, Albert Breer of The MMQB opines. He’s not the only one who feels that way – Eagles chief exec Howie Roseman agrees.

Joe is so prepared for this opportunity,” Roseman told Breer, via text. “He’s been with three great organizations and contributed to [Super Bowl]-winning rosters. He knows what it looks like on and off the field. He’ll take some from everywhere and put his own spin on it. He’s a great listener but also passionate about what he believes in…His personality and disposition is unique in that he’s very likable, yet he’s not afraid to stand his ground and strongly convey what he believes in.…Throw in high-end work ethic and you have someone that’s going to be successful in the GM position for the Jets.”

After years of losing and poor draft decisions, Jets fans are certainly hoping that Roseman is right.

Here’s more from the AFC East:

  • Douglas sees clear parallels between his experience with the Eagles and his new challenge with the Jets, as Gary Myers of the Daily News tweets. In Philly, the Eagles pushed to win right away while Carson Wentz was on his affordable rookie contract and he says he’ll take the same approach while Sam Darnold‘s salary is relatively low. The Seahawks and Rams have also used that strategy in recent years to elevate themselves to the Super Bowl.
  • More from Breer (Twitter link), who notes that Texans figure Jack Easterby and Nick Caserio share an agent, which may make it easy for Houston to refute the Patriots‘ accusations of tampering. The Patriots claim that Easterby spoke with Caserio about the GM role at the Patriots’ Super Bowl ring ceremony last Thursday, which came hours before the dismissal of Brian Gaine. However, it could be hard for the Patriots to come up with concrete evidence of tampering since the two are former co-workers and share the same representation.
  • Earlier this week, we looked back on the Dolphins‘ signing of Chad Johnson in 2012.
  • Former Bills linebacker Arthur Moats is hanging up his cleats.

Latest On Texans, Patriots Exec Nick Caserio

The Patriots formally filed tampering charges against the Texans earlier Wednesday, accusing Houston of illegally pursuing director of player personnel Nick Caserio for its general manager vacancy. Here’s what we’ve learned about Caserio and the Texans since:

  • The league will look into evidence that Texans vice president of player development Jack Easterby spoke with Caserio about the GM role at the Patriots’ Super Bowl ring ceremony last Thursday, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk (Twitter link). Easterby, who serves as something of a “character coach,” held a similar title in New England until 2019. The ex-pastor has already earned a large amount of responsibility in Houston, was reportedly an offseason target for several clubs before landing with the Texans, as Michael Lombardi noted on a recent episode of his GM Shuffle podcast.
  • Texans head coach Bill O’Brien says neither he nor Easterby has spoken with Caserio about the open general manager position, tweets Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. “I would say that the answer to that is no relative to contact about anything having to do with the Houston Texans,” O’Brien said. “No.”
  • Houston is willing to give Caserio a contract which gives him full control of its 53-man roster, reports John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. However, the Texans and Patriots are likely arguing over whether Caserio is considered a “high level employee,” a designation that would mean New England isn’t required to allow Caserio to depart, even for a perceived promotion, as Ben Volin of the Boston Globe writes.
  • The Patriots could eventually ask the Texans for draft pick compensation in exchange for Caserio, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (video link). Indeed, Bill Belichick‘s endgame could simply be pressuring Houston into trading a draft selection for Caserio, as Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com speculates (Twitter link).

Patriots Accuse Texans Of Tampering

On Wednesday, the Patriots filed tampering charges against the Texans for their attempted hire of Nick Caserio as their next GM, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). The NFL is now expected to gather relevant informant to open its investigation against the Texans.

Soon after the Texans’ surprise firing of GM Brian Gaine, the club was immediately linked to Caserio, the Patriots’ VP of player personnel. Initially, the belief was that the Patriots could not block Gaine from taking the job since it would be a clear elevation in titles and responsibility. But the Patriots, who are intent on keeping Caserio, may have found another way to ward off Houston.

The NFL’s anti-tampering policy states that “any interference by a member club with the employer-employee relationship of another club or any attempt by a club to impermissibly induce a person to seek employment with that club or with the NFL” is impermissible. Reading between the lines, it sounds as though the Patriots believe the Texans engaged in direct talks with Caserio before getting the green light from New England.

The Texans firing of Gaine the night after the Patriots’ ring ceremony set off some alarm bells in New England, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears. Now, the league office must make a ruling before the Texans proceed with their planned hire of Caserio.

Patriots Want To Keep Nick Caserio

The Texans want to interview Nick Caserio for their GM position, but the Patriots want to keep him, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears. For now, things remain in a holding pattern as the Patriots try to figure out how they can hold on to the valuable executive. 

In theory, the Patriots can deny the interview request on the grounds by arguing that the Houston job does not entail sufficient decision-making authority. However, that could be tough to pull off. The Texans seem to want Caserio badly, so one has to imagine that he would wield full authority over all aspects of roster construction. Also, the Texans job would give Caserio the formal GM title, something he lacks in New England.

Bill Belichick has acted as the Patriots’ GM for years, though Caserio holds significant influence in the draft and free agency. Rapoport wonders aloud if this could be a turning point for the Pats in which they give Caserio the official GM title in order to hang on to him.

If the Texans cannot get Caserio in for an interview, Rapoport wouldn’t be surprised if they turn their attention to Monti Ossenfort, who runs college scouting for the Patriots.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.