Patriots filed tampering chargers against Texans over GM candidate

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).