What if I told you a league investigation involving the Patriots was set to take place, but it wasn’t New England under the microscope for possible misdeeds? You’d probably roll your eyes at me and chuckle. Fair enough.
Well, feast your eyes on this:
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
ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweets the Patriots have filed tampering charges against the Texans stemming from Houston’s attempt to hire New England front office executive Nick Caserio to be the team’s next general manager.
Finding a hypothetical smoking gun could prove to be difficult, but potential impermissible contact could have been made at a party after the Patriots’ recent Super Bowl ring ceremony that Schefter references in a story filed to ESPN. The party was attended by Caserio and Texans Vice President of Team Development Jack Easterby (who once served as the Patriots’ team chaplain). A day later, the Texans unexpectedly fired Brian Gaine after just 18 months on the job. Gaine’s firing seems odd, especially since the Texans engineered a turnaround that saw them go from among the AFC South’s worst teams to an 11-5 division winner. So from a Patriots perspective, I can see why they might see all the timing lining up as awfully convenient.
After Gaine’s firing, John McClain (Houston Chronicle) tweeted Caserio — the Patriots’ Director of Player Personnel — might be the Texans’ top candidate. That informed speculation was based on Caserio being a top candidate last year before the Patriots made him unavailable for an interview. And while ESPN’s Mike Reiss reports the Texans have formally requested permission to speak with Caserio this time around, it hasn’t been granted to this point. Frankly, I can’t imagine a pending investigation into possible tampering is going to make this hiring process any easier.