Patriots’ Feud with Texans for Nick Caserio over Compensation

Nick Caserio Patriots Texans

Getty The Patriots and Texans are in a tug-of-war over personnel director Nick Caserio.

Does Nick Caserio want to be the general manager of the Houston Texans? That seems like a simple question, but the answer could be relatively complex.

The New England Patriots filed tampering charges against the Texans on Wednesday, presumably alleging that the Houston front office contacted Caserio before formally interviewing him and following NFL protocol. Caserio is currently New England’s director of player personnel.

It’s possible that the Patriots realize that they can’t really stop Caserio from leaving for Houston, especially if he really wants to go. But by putting up a fight, the front office may be able to get something out of the exchange, such as a draft pick.

Many in the New England organization reportedly believe that Jack Easterby, now the Texans’ vice president of player development, talked to Caserio about becoming Houston’s general manager while attending last week’s Super Bowl ring ceremony at Robert Kraft’s home. Easterly was at the festivities because he was the Patriots’ team development director and character coach until this past April.

The day after that ring ceremony, the Texans fired their general manager Brian Gaine. He had been in the position for only 17 months, effectively one season. In the Patriots’ view, the timing of that decision is suspicious and doesn’t appear to be a coincidence.

By the way, Easterby and Caserio share an agent, according to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer.

This is the second time Houston has attempted to interview Caserio. The Texans wanted to talk to him last year before hiring Gaine but were denied permission because the Patriots’ season was still ongoing in the playoffs. That rationale can’t be used now, but the argument is whether or not Caserio would be making a lateral move rather than getting a promotion.

Caserio doesn’t have the general manager title in New England. Bill Belichick has the final say on personnel decisions. But Caserio does everything that position calls for and much more. He oversees the team’s draft and free agent strategy, scouting all available players. Additionally, Caserio helps the offensive coaching staff throughout the week, sitting in on coaching meetings. Formerly the staff’s quarterback coach, he also contributes to game planning and communicates with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels during games.

Tom Brady Nick Caserio Patriots

Nick Caserio was the Patriots’ QB coach in 2007.

The Patriots will argue that Caserio wouldn’t be the general manager in Houston either. Head coach Bill O’Brien appears to have control over personnel for the Texans, winning a power struggle with Gaine for that authority. But Caserio would probably have coaching input as well. As the Patriots quarterback coach in 2007, he and O’Brien worked together on the team’s offensive staff.

Caserio would surely be in line for a raise if he went to Houston. As ESPN’s Mike Reiss points out, the going rate for NFL general managers is in the $3 million range. That’s how much the New York Jets are paying their new GM, Joe Douglas. Would the Patriots want to pay Caserio that much? If he’s as valuable as Belichick says he is, they’ll probably have to. Give him the GM title, as well.

But what if Caserio really wants to leave for Houston? Speaking with Houston’s Sports Radio 610 AM, the Boston Globe‘s Ben Volin asserted that Caserio does indeed want the Texans’ GM position and may have an opportunity for a greater role. Otherwise, why attempt to go through this process and get the Patriots to file tampering charges? Unless he’s just angling for a pay boost.

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