Texans front office issues may be worse than we thought

Even with general manager Nick Caserio on board, the Houston Texans’ front office is still a disaster.

For many years, the Cleveland Browns and the New York Jets held the distinction of being the worst-run franchises in the NFL. This past year, the Houston Texans told their AFC counterparts to hold their beer.

Even after the DeAndre Hopkins trade and the Bill O’Brien debacle, the Texans continue to find ways to make even casual fans shake their heads. Case in point: the Deshaun Watson situation, which has resulted in the star quarterback reportedly demanding a trade off the team. But if you thought the front office was bad enough, you were wrong.

In this week’s Stacking the Box column, a source told FanSided national NFL reporter Matt Verderame about the state of Houston’s front office with Jack Easterby and new general manager Nick Caserio. Spoiler alert: It’s not an assessment that will instill confidence in the Texans fanbase.

“‘I know this, I’ve been in the league a long time. I don’t even know [executive vice president of football operations Jack] Easterby,’” the source told Verderame. “‘He could walk in front of me and introduce himself on the street and I wouldn’t know him. Everyone I know says he’s not a football guy. He’s been put in a position he can not handle. And I guess this is who the owner leans on.’

“And Nick [Caserio] is a great guy but he’s not a public relations guy. He’s going to hold his cards close, so from that standpoint it’s a weird hire. Who’s the face of the organization? It has to be Watson, and that’s a b***h because he can’t be that guy during the regular season. He’s a football player.”

Houston’s got a front office problem

Easterby wasn’t a well-known figure in the NFL before this past year. Prior to his arrival in Houston, Easterby was the character coach and team chaplain of the New England Patriots. Then, he ended up being the Texans’ executive vice president of team development only to be promoted to executive vice president of football operations in Jan. 2020.

As the source said, Easterby’s not a football guy. Even Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said Easterby was not a personnel person. Yet, team owner Cal McNair let him run football operations. That’s baffling when you think about it.

Caserio, on the other hand, does have football expertise. He spent 19 years with the Patriots organization, 13 of which as the team’s director of player personnel. Again, the source was correct that Caserio isn’t a public relations guy, as those duties were normally reserved for Belichick and his press conferences. Now, he has to deal with the ongoing trade talk with Watson.

At the end of the regular season, Watson felt slighted by McNair. He had offered his suggestions for general manager, but those were ignored after the team hired Caserio. Interestingly enough, Caserio wasn’t even on the Korn Ferry search firm’s list of candidates. In fact, Watson found out about the news like the rest of us — on Twitter.

Then, Watson asked the Texans to interview Robert Saleh and Eric Bieniemy for the head coaching vacancy. Saleh didn’t even get an interview with the Texans, while Bieniemy did, but only after reports indicated that the team didn’t request a meeting with the Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator. After the team hired Baltimore Ravens assistant head coach David Culley for the job, reports surfaced hours later that Watson requested a trade off the team weeks ago. During Culley’s introductory press conference, Caserio let it be known that the Texans had no intention of moving Watson to another team, even though he holds the power in this situation.

Either way, the Texans are going to have to find a way to make Watson happy enough to remain in Houston, or to trade him altogether. Brace yourselves, Texans fans, because this has all the makings of a messy offseason without a true face of the franchise.

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