Patriots accuse Texans of tampering in pursuit of Nick Caserioby Andersen Pickard June 13, 2019 0 comments
Not long after the Texans fired general manager Brian Gaine last week, the Patriots denied their request to interview New England executive Nick Caserio.
At first, there didn’t appear to be much to it. Caserio’s name has come up in general manager talks in the past, but the Patriots have always blocked requests for their director of player personnel to interview elsewhere. That makes sense. After all, if somebody is good enough to be a general manager, why let him walk for free?
However, as it turns out, there’s more to the story than a simple interview request being shut down.
As Adam Schefter of ESPN was the first of many to note, the Patriots have filed tampering charges against the Texans for the attempted hiring of Caserio as Houston’s general manager.
The Patriots filed tampering charges Wednesday against the Houston Texans for the attempted general manager hire of Nick Caserio, league sources told ESPN.
The NFL now is expected to gather relevant informant to open its investigation against Houston, per sources.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 12, 2019
However, it’s legal for a team to request an interview with someone, even if they are currently employed by a different organization. So what exactly happened that displeased the Patriots?
According to NFL.com insider Ian Rapoport, the timing of the Texans’ firing of general manager Brian Gaine has something to do with it.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) June 12, 2019
According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, there is evidence of Texans executive Jack Easterby interacting with Caserio at the Patriots’ ring ceremony last Wednesday. Easterby was in attendance because he was on the Patriots’ coaching staff during the Super Bowl season as a character coach before accepting a similar role with the Texans ahead of the 2019 season.
Evidence of potential tampering come from photos, videos, other proof of interactions between Texans exec @JackEasterby and Caserio at last Thursday's Patriots ring ceremony, which happened the night before the Houston G.M. job became vacant.
— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) June 12, 2019
The ring ceremony was last Thursday. Gaine’s firing came as a huge surprise, and occurred less than 24 hours after Easterby and Caserio were interacting.
Some could argue that the firing of Gaine should have been enough to strike concern and confusion in many, even without the ironic linking between Caserio and the Texans. But then mix in the Caserio drama and you may have a case of tampering.
The league will look into evidence that Easterby spoke with Caserio last Thursday, per Florio.
Texans head coach Bill O’Brien says neither he nor Easterby has spoken with Caserio about the vacancy. On Tuesday, O’Brien was asked, “Did you or Jack Easterby have any contact with Nick Caserio or his representatives before Brian Gaine was fired?” To this, O’Brien responded: “I would say that the answer to that is no relative to contact about anything having to do with the Houston Texans. No.”
John McClain of the Houston Chronicle notes that the Texans would be willing to give Caserio full control of the roster.
Finally, could Bill Belichick be doing all this simply to get a small return for losing Caserio? Should the tampering investigation prove the Texans are guilty of tampering, they still get to hire Caserio, but at the cost of a draft pick that would head to the Patriots.
If there is no tampering, Caserio remains a Patriot, in which case it would likely take a sudden change of events to persuade Belichick to part ways with Caserio … or a trade. As several other NFL writers and reporters have pointed out, Belichick’s endgame could simply be pressuring Houston into pulling of a swap that sends Caserio to Houston for an upcoming draft selection, or even a player that provides help at a position of need in New England.