The search for a new general manager begins. What's next and who could they Texans target?

Texans fire GM Brian Gaine

Brian Gaine had a decent draft. Houstontexans.com

The Houston Texans announced Friday they have fired the team's general manager Brian Gaine after just one and half years as the team's general manager.

The Texans statement

With the comment in the release about Gaine's high character it seems unlikely a scandal is on the horizon. Chris Olsen is a well-respected cap expert around the NFL and he, along with I assume Bill O'Brien's influence, will run the team with Gaine gone.

Alignment erosion

Bill O'Brien and Brian Gaine often talked about the alignment of the organization, something that seemingly wasn't the case with the team's previous general manager Rick Smith. Unless there is a scandal, as we mentioned above is unlikely, it seems something went south between O'Brien and what was viewed as his hand-picked front office guy in Gaine.

O'Brien hasn't had a poor relationship with any of the players Gaine has brought it, in fact, plenty of the players Gaine drafted played early and avoided the dog house rookies often find themselves in with O'Brien.

Cal McNair is not his father

The new man at the top is Cal McNair after his father passed away. Bob McNair would have never done this. He was one of the most patient owners in the NFL. It was often said O'Brien and former GM Rick Smith would come to a disagreement Bob McNair would make them work together and fix it. Ultimately the situation between those two became so toxic O'Brien was entertaining a return to college and Smith stepped down when his wife became sick leading to Brian Gaine to take over.

What does this mean for Bill O'Brien?

I believe this only further consolidates Bill O'Brien's power within the organization. Gaine was seen as an O'Brien guy so with the timing of him leaving, June has most of the roster building completed, O'Brien is the man in the building who knows the team best. Even if the Texans add a new general manager quickly O'Brien should maintain near full power until he becomes intimately familiar with the team and their process.

With the added power, the pressure is on for O'Brien. If the new ownership will fire an important piece of the front office with over three years left on his contract there is no reason to think O'Brien can't be a victim if he fails in 2019. It wouldn't be shocking to learn there is a level he needs to achieve to maintain his job.

Who is the next Texans GM?

Bill O'Brien could use some fresh voices. He has leaned towards people he has previously worked with in the past but something new wouldn't be the worst thing in the world.

Nick Caserio is the New England Patriots Director of Player Personnel. He was pursued by the Texans before Gaine was hired and declined an attempt interview. I don't imagine he would be leaving his spot in New England. UPDATE: The Texans announced they will no longer pursue Caserio.

Dallas Cowboys Vice President of Player Personnel Will McClay is one of the best in the business but he is with a pseudo-rival and the Jones family loves him. I don't see how he gets away.

Eagles Vice President of Player Personnel Joe Douglas has been in contact with the New York Jets about their vacant GM job. It is unclear the status of their pursuit of Douglas. If he is still available he should get an interview. UPDATE: Douglas has been hired by the Jets.

Browns assistant general manager Eliot Wolf just got to Cleveland but is blocked by John Dorsey. He was well respected in the Packers organization before leaving for Cleveland when he didn't get the Packers general manager job.

Scott Pioli was with the Atlanta Falcons as recently as last month before he resigned his post of the assistant general manager. He was the general manager in Kansas City when Romeo Crennel was the head coach and was with the Patriots going as high as the vice president of player personnel.

Watt weighs in

Friday the 13th. Triskaidekophobes' worst nightmare. It's silliness. Like believing in the Texans as Super Bowl contenders.

So how did the Texans go from toppling the 10-1 Patriots one Sunday, to having the 4-8 Broncos humiliate them the next? That is what mediocrity is all about, Houston Texans style. Imagine how ugly it would have gotten had the Broncos not had to deal with the intimidation factor of playing under a closed roof on a gorgeous autumn afternoon. There was a surprising number of no shows for an 8-4 home team off of two quality wins. Coincidence? Certainly not entirely. Ticket holders who opted to stay away joined essentially the entire team in no-showing.

With their record 8-5 the odds still favor the Texans making the playoffs. Winning two of the remaining three games does the job (and secures other one of those cute little AFC South Champion banners!). Of course, the odds favored the Texans not trailing 31-3 at home at halftime to a Broncos' team that hadn't scored more than 24 points in any game all season. Winning one to finish 9-7 could mean a Wild Card. Yippee!

They are only three point underdogs at Tennessee Sunday. If the Texans' feeble pass rush can't pick it up the Texans' D figures to be D-stroyed again. Ryan Tannehill's career revival with the Titans has been astounding. What reasonable person would have believed that entering this game Tannehill would be playing better quarterback than Deshaun Watson over the last month? Defending Derrick Henry's power running is a big problem, and that has made Tannehill devastating in the play action passing game. Good chance the Texans will need to score more than 28 points to win. They last did so eight games ago in their 31-24 victory at Kansas City. The Titans look like the better team right now, but week to week in the NFL who knows.

As I put it on the radio show earlier this week, in an either or scenario which would you prefer: the Texans do win their division, maybe win a wild card weekend home game, and if they do then take a shot at not getting crushed at Baltimore again. OR…the Texans lose twice to the Titans, lose in Tampa, tumbling from 8-4 to an 8-8 playoff miss and Cal McNair decides to fire Bill O'Brien?

Tough spell for Astros

Given that Oakland wasn't a possibility, Gerrit Cole picking the Yankees is the Astros' worst case scenario. If you're thinking nine years 324 million dollars is nuts, of course nine years is crazy long, but the Yankees are a money printing machine. Forbes magazine estimate for 2018 had the Yankees generating roughly 300 million dollars more in revenue than did the Astros.

Another bottom line: with Cole the Yankees are markedly better, without him the Astros are markedly worse.

The Astros are in a payroll bind, hence the trade Carlos Correa rumblings. In isolation, trading Correa would be dumb. Yes he has proven brittle. But Correa is also super-talented, 25 years old, and for two more years in Major League Baseball terms, dirt cheap. Trade Correa for what? A desperate play to escape the 13 million dollar anvil that is Josh Reddick's 2020 contract? Offered for nothing in return the Astros have no takers for Reddick. As a must take in a Correa deal, Reddick would drive down the return the Astros could get.

The Astros would be seeking a cheap, multi-years team-controlled stud young starting pitcher for Correa. They're not getting one for him. Guys like the Dodgers' Walker Buehler, the Cardinals' Jack Flaherty, the Braves Mike Siroka, the Indians Shane Bieber, those teams wouldn't swap their guy for Correa straight up. They'd laugh at an Astro offer of Correa and Reddick. Reds' starter Luis Castillo's name has been thrown against the wall. He's had one really good full big league season. At 27 years old, Castillo isn't eligible for arbitration until 2021. Why would the Reds trade him for Correa who can walk as a free agent after the 2021 season? Mets starter Noah Syndegaard? Probably not available, and he can become a free agent the same time as Correa.

It's always easy to burn someone else's money, but the Astros' best play is keeping Correa and swallowing the Reddick 13 mil if necessary, rather than taking 70 cents on the dollar back in a trade. Jim Crane and his partners can make back any loss in profit margin during this Astros' window of excellence by cutting costs when the next rebuilding time comes around and/or by selling the team down the line for several times the 610 million dollars they paid to buy it.

Buzzer Beaters

1. If you can get a ticket, UH-Oklahoma St. at Fertitta Center is the place to be Sunday afternoon. 2. The NBA has captivated very few around here so far this season, but the relentlessness of James Harden's scoring pace (37.6 points per game) is stupefying. 3. Absurd actual phobias: Bronze-Somniphobia, fear of sleep Silver-Cherophobia, fear of happiness Gold-Arachibutyrophobia, the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth


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