Will McClay

Texans Request Permission To Interview Nick Caserio

The Texans have requested permission to interview Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio for their vacant GM job, as Mark Berman of Fox 26 KRIV tweets. As has been reported previously, Berman confirms that Caserio is Houston’s top choice.

Houston was in the hunt for a new GM in early 2018 as well, but New England denied the Texans’ request to interview Caserio. As Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk observes, in order to hire away an executive under contract with a rival club, the hiring team must offer “the primary authority over all personnel decisions related to the signing of free agents, the selection of players in the College Draft, trades, and related decisions; and . . . the primary responsibility for coordinating other football activities with the head coach.” And, even if the hiring team offers those responsibilities, the incumbent club can still block the interview if its season has not yet ended.

It sounds as though the Texans are prepared to offer Caserio full GM responsibilities rather than make him a “GM Light” who would cede significant power to head coach Bill O’Brien. As Albert Breer of TheMMQB tweets, New England was able to prevent Caserio and director of college scouting Monti Ossenfort from interviewing for the Texans’ GM job last year only because the Pats’ season hadn’t ended yet. This time around, though, the Patriots cannot prevent their executives from hearing Houston’s pitch.

That is, of course, if they are even interested. It would be difficult for an exec to leave the friendly confines of Foxborough for uncharted waters elsewhere, and the quick and unexpected firing of former Houston GM Brian Gaine would certainly be cause for concern. On the other hand, the Texans do have a roster that looks capable of immediate contention, and with a young and promising QB in Deshaun Watson, a first-time GM could certainly do worse than land with Houston.

The Texans have already interviewed Ray Farmer and plan to interview Martin Mayhew. One name that is not on the agenda as of yet is Cowboys VP of player personnel Will McClay, as Calvin Watkins of The Athletic reports (via Twitter). Watkins expects Houston to reach out to McClay, but he does not expect McClay to leave his current position.

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Fritz Pollard Alliance Recommends GM Candidates

The Fritz Pollard Alliance has released its annual list of minority candidates for general manager vacancies. Much like the latest batch of recommended coaching hires, the suggested GM list is more than twice as long as last year’s. 

[RELATED: Fritz Pollard Alliance Recommends Head Coaching Candidates]

Here’s the full rundown, via Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (Twitter link):

  • Ray Agnew (Rams)
  • Joey Clinkscales (Raiders)
  • Quentin Harris (Cardinals)
  • Alonzo Highsmith (Browns)
  • Brad Holmes (Rams)
  • Champ Kelly (Bears)
  • Martin Mayhew (49ers, ex-Lions GM)
  • Will McClay (Cowboys)
  • Jimmy Raye III (Lions)
  • Jerry Reese (ex-Giants GM)
  • Doug Whaley (ex-Bills GM)
  • Doug Williams (Redskins)


Clinkscales, Highsmith, McClay, and Williams were all featured on last year’s list, but none of those executives landed GM jobs. The only executive from the last round of recommendations who did not carry over to this year was Ray Farmer, the former Browns GM who is currently serving as a senior consultant with the Rams.

Of the dozen suggested executives on this list, only three sat for GM interviews in the last cycle: Mayhew (Panthers), Raye (Texans), and Whaley (Packers). McClay was asked to interview for the Texans opening, but declined the opportunity and instead signed a two-year extension to stay with the Cowboys. McClay may garner consideration again this time around, but he might not be interested in leaving Dallas.

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Cowboys Extend Exec Will McClay

The Cowboys are holding on to vice president of player personnel Will McClay. After the McClay declined an opportunity to interview with the Texans about their GM opening, the team rewarded him with a two-year extension, as ESPN.com’s Todd Archer writes. Will McClay (vertical)

The new deal, presumably, comes with a pay raise for his loyalty. The Cowboys wanted to keep McClay, a widely respected and highly sought after talent evaluator, even though he his blocked from the GM job with Jerry Jones in command.

As Archer notes, the Cowboys have drafted four Pro Bowl players – Zack Martin, Demarcus Lawrence, Ezekiel Elliott, and Dak Prescott – since McClay took over the college and pro personnel departments in 2014. In that span they’ve also tapped 14 players who start or play key roles for the team.

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Cowboys’ McClay Turns Down Texans Interview

Another Texans GM candidate bites the dust. On Wednesday morning, Cowboys exec Will McClay confirmed that he has turned down an opportunity to interview for the Texans’ GM vacancy (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Todd Archer).Will McClay (vertical)

The Cowboys did right by McClay and granted him permission to speak with Houston. However, he is choosing to remain with Dallas as the leader of the personnel department. McClay has held the position since 2014 and built a reputation as one of the league’s best scouting talents.

So far, the Texans have been denied permission to interview the Eagles’ Joe Douglas and Nick Caserio and Monti Ossenfort of the Patriots. They were hoping to sit down with Brian Gutekunst, but the Packers took him off of the board by giving him their own GM job.

For a full rundown of Houston’s GM search (and a recap of Green Bay’s), check out PFR’s 2018 General Manger Search Tracker.

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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.

Texans Request Interview With Will McClay

The Texans are continuing to search for a new GM, and they have requested an interview with Cowboys VP of player personnel Will McClay, as Albert Breer of The MMQB tweets. Just two days ago, we learned that Houston was eyeing McClay and Eagles VP of player personnel Joe Douglas, though the Eagles have denied the Texans’ request to interview Douglas.

Texans Helmet (Vertical)

[RELATED: 2018 NFL General Manager Search Tracker]

It could be equally difficult to pry McClay from Dallas, as Breer notes. McClay is highly respected around the league, and he is among the Fritz Pollard Alliance’s recommended minority candidates for GM jobs this offseason.

Earlier today, it was reported that the Patriots denied the Texans’ request to interview Patriots executive Nick Caserio and Monti Ossenfort. However, it was also reported that, despite that denial, Houston could still interview Caserio and Ossenfort once the Patriots’ season ends, and since Dallas’ season is already over, the Cowboys may not be able to block the Texans’ request to meet with McClay. They could, though, give McClay a raise in order to keep him around.

Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News recently wrote that he does not expect McClay to depart for a GM position just yet, as he has a great deal of say with the Cowboys, enjoys working with other members of the team’s front office, and is determined to bring another Super Bowl to Dallas.

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Texans Eyeing Douglas, McClay For GM Job

The Texans are showing interest in Eagles VP of player personnel Joe Douglas and Cowboys VP of player personnel Will McClay for their GM vacancy, according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle (on Twitter). They join Bills vice president of player personnel Brian Gaine, Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio, Packers director of player personnel Brian Gutekunst, and Patriots director of college scouting Monti Ossenfort as candidates tied to the opening. Texans Helmet (Vertical)

[RELATED: 2018 NFL General Manager Search Tracker]

Douglas was not included in the league’s annual list of prospective GM candidates, but he has wielded considerable influence over the Eagles in his year-and-a-half with the team. This past year, top exec Howie Roseman gave Douglas more control over the draft board that he has to previous lieutenants. Owner Jeffrey Lurie also recognizes the role that Douglas has had in the team’s success.

“The hiring of Joe Douglas, I thought, was the pivotal moment of the last year,” said Lurie.

Several teams have failed to lure McClay away from the Cowboys, but this could be the year that he finally leaves the nest. He is among the Fritz Pollard Alliance’s recommended minority candidates for GM jobs this offseason.


The Texans’ next GM will reportedly have roster control over head coach Bill O’Brien. But, in an interesting twist, O’Brien will be a part of the four-man team in charge of the hiring process along with McNair, team president Jamey Rootes, and vice chairman/CEO Cal McNair.

The GM job opened up this week when Rick Smith announced that he will be taking a leave of absence to care for his wife as she battles breast cancer. Both parties left the door open to Smith returning to his role as GM at some point, but that seems unlikely if a permanent hire is made. At minimum, the plan is for Smith to remain with the organization and carry the title of Executive Vice President.

Texans vice president of football operations/assistant general manager Jimmy Raye III may also be in the mix for the job, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.


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NFC East Notes: Cowboys, Jones, Giants, Webb

A look at the NFC East:

  • When speaking to reporters at Wednesday’s meetings, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones hinted that he wants to dial back the power of the commissioner’s office (Twitter link via Ben Volin of The Boston Globe). “There’s nobody that doesn’t see the need for changes in the NFL in several areas. … One of it is an antiquated constitution, an antiquated situation as to the power of his commissioner,” Jones said.
  • Giants interim GM Kevin Abrams says he would like to see rookie Davis Webb get some playing time down the stretch (Twitter link via Paul Schwartz of the New York Post). However, he added that “you can only play one quarterback at a time” and said that interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo will have the final call on the team’s QB situation.
  • Several teams have failed to lure Cowboys senior director of college and pro personnel Will McClay in the past, but there is a feeling that he might be interested in the Giants‘ GM vacancy, Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv writes. McClay is in charge of the Cowboys’ drafts and they have had a strong track record in recent years. McClay is among the Fritz Pollard Alliance’s recommended minority candidates for GM jobs this offseason.

Pollard Alliance Releases HC, GM Candidates

The Fritz Pollard Alliance met with the NFL this week and submitted names of suggested GM and head coaching candidates. The list, which is distributed to teams each year, recommends minority candidates for openings around the league. Teryl Austin (vertical)

This year’s candidates for GM jobs are Joey Clinkscales (Raiders), Alonzo Highsmith (Packers), Ray Farmer (Rams consultant), Will McClay (Cowboys), and Doug Williams (Redskins), according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The head coaching candidates are Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin, Vikings DC George Edwards, Panthers DC Steve Wilks, and Titans offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie, as Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.

Farmer has ten years of front office experience under his belt, including two as the Browns’ GM. The team went 10-22 under his watch, so wouldn’t necessarily be an exciting choice for a team this offseason. The other four suggested candidates would be first-time GMs, if hired.

Austin has been considered a bonafide head coaching candidate for some time, but he has been left in a holding pattern. In the 2016 offseason, Austin opined that two of his four interviews were done solely to satisfy the Rooney Rule. This past year, he interviewed with the Rams and Chargers.

Absent from the list is former Bills GM Doug Whaley, who received a potentially bogus interview with the Browns this week.

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Staff Notes: Cowboys, McClay, Saints, Welker

Several teams extended general manager interview requests to Cowboys executive Will McClay this offseason, but as he did last year, McClay resisted those overtures, according to Todd Archer of ESPN.com. In 2016, McClay — whose official title is senior director of college and pro personnel — turned down an invite from the Lions, who ultimately hired Bob Quinn as GM. McClay wields a strong amount of influence in Dallas, but hasn’t ruled out leaving the club for another vacancy at some point down the line, per Archer.

Here’s more on the 2017 hiring cycle:

  • The Saints were interested in hiring former Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley as their linebackers coach if he didn’t secure a defensive coordinator job this year, tweets Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. Bradley, one of the more respected defensive minds in the league, drew a wide swath of DC interest, as the Redskins, 49ers, and Chargers — who ultimately hired him — all interviewed him for their coordinator position. New Orleans, meanwhile, continues to interview candidates for its LBs coach vacancy.
  • Former NFL receiver Wes Welker is attending the Senior Bowl with the Texans‘ coaching staff, reports Tom Pelissero of USA Today (Twitter link), who adds that Welker is considering joining the coaching ranks. Welker, 35, last played in 2015 for the Rams. Last summer, Welker attended Dolphins’ practice sessions in a semi-coaching role, working with the club’s wideouts.
  • Longtime Pete Carroll confidant Rocky Seto is leaving the Seahawks in order to pursue a career in the ministry, as Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times writes. Seto, Seattle’s assistant head coach/defense, has coached alongside Carroll dating back to the early 2000s at USC.
  • Ex-Jets defensive backs coach Joe Danna is joining the Jaguars as the club’s assistant secondary coach, per Alex Marvez of SiriusXM NFL Radio (Twitter link). Danna spent the past two seasons in New York.