The Houston Texans will not hire a general manager for the 2019 season, instead opting to divide responsibilities among current front-office members, ESPN reported Wednesday.
Going without a GM was reported as a possibility in mid-June, after the team stopped pursuing New England Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio. The Texans are widely expected to renew their pursuit of Caserio when his contract expires next offseason, an endeavor that would be more difficult if the team hired a GM in the interim.
According to ESPN, Houston will divide the duties of fired GM Brian Gaine among several people for the 2019 season, including director of player personnel Matt Bazirgan, director of college scouting James Liipfert, senior vice president of football administration Chris Olsen and newly hired executive vice president of team development Jack Easterby. Head coach Bill O'Brien has also taken a larger role, per multiple reports.
Easterby, who was a "character coach" for the Patriots from 2013 through last season, left New England in February and was hired by the Texans in April.
His interaction with Caserio, a close friend, at the Patriots' ring ceremony on June 6 was reportedly the focus of tampering charges New England filed against Houston regarding the Texans' pursuit of Caserio. The Texans fired Gaine -- just 17 months into a five-year contract -- one day after the Patriots' ring ceremony, and Caserio was immediately reported as the preferred candidate to replace him.
The Texans interviewed San Francisco 49ers vice president of player personnel Martin Mayhew -- the former Detroit Lions GM -- and former Cleveland Browns GM Ray Farmer for their GM opening, but the search ceased after Caserio proved not to be a viable option.
Caserio, 43, has held his position since 2008 as the top personnel man for Bill Belichick, who has final authority on the Patriots' personnel decisions. Caserio is also close with O'Brien, who coached in New England from 2007 to 2011.
His contract reportedly does not permit him to interview with other teams, but it expires after the 2020 draft.