While the writing has been on the wall for a few years now, Nick Caserio did stay put with the New England Patriots even as other teams were trying to lure him away. Now, however, one has succeeded: the Houston Texans are expected to name the 45-year-old as their new general manager. Houston already tried to hire Caserio two times before, to no avail.
Caserio had served as the Patriots’ director of player personnel since 2008, and has been one of the architects of the team’s last three Super Bowl runs. Losing him, especially in a pivotal offseason such as this one, is obviously a blow to New England as the club will now have to fill one of the highest-ranking positions in its front office.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at what Caserio’s departure means for the Patriots and Texans.
Bill Belichick will have to find a new right-hand man
While officially listed as director of player personnel, Caserio has worn many hats during his time with the Patriots. He was acting as de facto general manager alongside Bill Belichick and as such actively involved in the draft and free agency — so much so that he was working out players during the pre-draft cycle, for example — and even was sitting the coach’s booth on game day. Long story short, Caserio filled plenty of roles.
Now, the team will have to find a way to replace them all. The most important job that just opened up within the organization, however, might just be that of Belichick’s right-hand man: Belichick trusted Caserio to make moves on his and the Patriots’ behalf, and even though he still had final say, did give his director of player personnel plenty of freedom to do his job. Caserio’s successor will have to earn that trust.
Caserio’s departure could lead to more changes
The Texans bringing Caserio on board could impact New England on more than just one level; the team’s coaching staff might also be in for a shake-up with him now in Houston. The name to watch is obviously offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
McDaniels joined the Patriots alongside Caserio back in 2001, and the two have since carved out prominent roles on the team. Their history goes even farther back, though: the two also were college teammates at John Carroll — Caserio played quarterback, McDaniels wide receiver — and even shared a room together on road trips. That said, according to the Houston Chronicle’s John McClain, McDaniels is currently not seen as a candidate to fill the Texans’ vacant head coaching position.
Also part of the John Carroll connection is Dave Ziegler, who was promoted to assistant director of player personnel last year and is seen as the leading candidate to take over for Caserio. Given his own long-standing history with Caserio, he too might become a name to watch as a potential departee towards Houston.
Houston decides to go back to the Patriots well
Caserio is not the first major addition made by Houston that has a history with the Patriots. The team’s previous general manager, and head coach, Bill O’Brien also came from New England, albeit via Penn State: he spent five years with the Patriots, including as offensive coordinator in 2011. But despite the O’Brien tenure coming to a disappointing end — he was fired after the team’s 0-4 start this year — the Texans feel confident going with another Bill Belichick acolyte.
How big of a role Jack Easterby played in the decision is not known, but it would not be surprising if he advocated for hiring Caserio. Easterby, of course, left New England for Houston in February 2019 and played a central role in the tampering charges the Patriots filed against the Texans last year.
The list of six-time champs in New England keeps getting smaller
One year after losing long-time starting quarterback Tom Brady, the Patriots will now see another member of their “Six Super Bowl rings club” depart. Caserio has been part of the organization throughout its dynastic run of the 2000s and 2010s, winning his first three championship rings as personnel assistant, area scout and director of pro personnel, respectively, before adding three more in his most recent position.
With him now gone, the Patriots’ football staff has only 11 six-time world champions left:
- Head coach Bill Belichick
- Running backs coach Ivan Fears
- Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels
- Director of scouting administration Nancy Meier
- College scouting director Brian Smith
- Director of research Richard Miller
- Information technology specialist Dan Famosi
- Director of football/head coach administration Berj Najarian
- Football research director Ernie Adams
- Video director Jimmy Dee
- Assistant video director Fernando Neto
Team ownership — most prominently CEO Robert Kraft and President Jonathan Kraft — also belongs to that club, even though it does not fall under the “football staff” category given its unique position within the franchise.