In early June, the Houston Texans announced the firing of general manager Brian Gaine. It was a surprise to a lot of people, if for no other reason than the timing, a little late in the year for such a move.
At the time, the team said it was working on hiring a replacement immediately. Here were are crossing into August, and the Texans still have no GM.
Chris Olsen was assigned to take the role of interim general manager. He is also the team’s senior vice president of football administration. While I think that sometimes they make up these titles, Olsen will presumably be juggling two jobs.
Reason for the Change
The question now is, how long can the Texans do without a GM?
To answer that, it helps to know why Gaine was fired in the first place. You may recall that Gaine was the second choice behind Nick Caserio, who is in the New England Patriots front office.
That should explain why the Texans have made enough overtures to Caserio to be whistled for pass interference by the Pats. They threatened tampering charges.
So maybe the Texans never really liked Gaine in the first place, and there was talk that Gaine and Coach Bill O’Brien didn’t get along.
Caserio’s contract with the Patriots runs out after the 2020 draft, so perhaps the Texans will simply let Olsen do the job until then and go after Caserio once again.
What a GM Does
Meanwhile, we have to consider what duties may be neglected without the GM position being permanently filled. That comes down to a basic job description.
What does an NFL general manager do? Usually the GM handles the business end of player dealings. That means negotiating contracts, drafting players, dealing with trades and free agency, and coordinating all of this with the head coach.
Therefore, the first test of the Texans new front office arrangement may be in how they handle this Jadeveon Clowney situation. A passing grade would be to get him into training camp ASAP.
Doing without a GM will certainly mean more, but the Texans wouldn’t be the first team to be without a person with the sole duties of GM.
Often the general manager hires and fires coaches, but NFL organizations work differently.
When a Boss is a Boss
Some teams have GMs that carry double duty. Most notably are the Patriots, where Coach Bill Belichick serves as GM. That’s right, Belichick is the boss, not Caserio; he’s director of player personnel.
Then there are the Cowboys, where Jerry Jones is owner, president and general manager.
The Washington Redskins don’t have a GM, but obviously that’s no roadmap. And the Tampa Bay Bucs have a general manager in name only, because everyone knows the Glazer clan runs pretty much everything.
So it is not too far-fetched to have an NFL team without a person they call GM, for a year or so anyway.
And unless something really blows up, the Houston Texans should cruise through another solid season and have a new GM in place by next summer.