Texans GM Rumors: Houston might poach Bill Belichick's right-hand man from Patriots front office

The timing of the Texans firing GM Brian Gaine was odd, with the team getting through free agency and the draft and then unceremoniously dumping him on a Friday in June. Just about everyone thought there might be more to this story and it appears there is, with Houston targeting one of Bill O'Brien's old pals in New England for the GM role. 

Nick Caserio is listed by the Patriots as the Director of Pro Personnel, a role he's held since 2008, but he's essentially the team's general manager, only he's not holding a traditional GM role because of the power that Bill Belichick wields in the Patriots organization. 

Caserio could soon become the next Texans GM. At the very least he's their top target, according to a report from Mark Berman of FOX 26, who reports that Caserio has become the top target for the Texans in their GM search.

This lines up with a breakdown from Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com on Monday, in which Breer connected the dots between Caserio and O'Brien and explained why the leap might finally make sense for Caserio, who has been consistently wooed by other NFL teams for the last decade. 

From Breer:

O'Brien and Caserio (offensive coaches together in 2007, O'Brien's first NFL season) are very close. Easterby and Caserio are very close. And here's one thing I found interesting—three guys that know all involved well told me over the weekend that they saw O'Brien as good a fit for Caserio as a coach as Caserio's college teammate, Josh McDaniels. Or maybe an even better fit.

Breer also reports that Caserio nearly left for the Dolphins job back in 2014, but not being able to fire Joe Philbin made it a dealbreaker for him. Hence the importance of him knowing the head coach and being aligned in that situation. Breer also said Caserio will want to land in a spot where "he can shape the job as he sees fit." 

Another dot to connect here is the presence of Jack Easterby, the former Patriots chaplain and character coach who left New England in the wake of the Robert Kraft scandal to join the Texans as the "executive vice president of team development."

So the Texans currently have a former Patriots coach (O'Brien) as their head coach and another former Patriots staffer (Easterby) as a prominent figure in the front office. 

Caserio leaving and joining the Texans would afford him the opportunity to make a leap he probably wants to make and run his own team, while doing it with people he knows he can work with and in an organization that is relatively stable (outside of recently firing the GM who was hired 18 months ago). Caserio is clearly both comfortable and happy in New England, but this is a pretty good landing spot if the front office man decides he wants to take the plunge and try his hand at running another team.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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