The Texans have reportedly settled on Brian Gaine as their new general manager, replacing Rick Smith. Gaine was hired away from the Texans last year, joining the Buffalo Bills as Vice President of Player personnel. Prior to that, Gaine spent three years with the Texans as director of player personnel.
Gaine also served as assistant general manager with the Miami Dolphins. He reportedly has a good working relationship with head coach Bill O'Brien. Gaine replaces Smith, who took a leave of absence to care for his ailing wife. Smith will likely return at some point, but in another role if Gaine is successful.
Gaine is a respected personnel man who has interviewed for several GM jobs in recent years. O'Brien, who is apparently close to a contract extension, will likely have more say on player acquisition as part of his deal. He has not earned it, but the reportedly "toxic" relationship with Smith will no longer be an excuse.
Gaine inherits a roster that when healthy should be competitive. The return of J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus should boost the defense, and Deshaun Watson appears to be a franchise quarterback in the making. However, he will need to rebuild a terrible offensive line and boost a shaky secondary, all without a first or second round pick. However, the team has significant cap room to make a splash in free agency.
Meanwhile, the team is working on extension for O'Brien. He has several staff positions to fill, and really needs to consider a new defensive coordinator.
But he at least has a new GM to work with. One he already knew.