What caused Cal McNair to disregard Korn Ferry’s G.M. finalists?

Mike Florio
·3 min read

When the Texans officially introduce G.M. Nick Caserio on Friday, owner Cal McNair will participate in the virtual press conference. And McNair will face plenty of questions regarding the process that resulted in the hiring of Caserio.

The first question could be this: Why did you hire someone who wasn’t on the list of finalists prepared by the Korn Ferry search firm? Whatever the fee paid (numbers like $250,000 and $600,000 are making the rounds), it was a lot of money. And, for whatever reason, McNair went off the board. This is the opportunity to ask him to explain the reason(s) for doing so.

Other questions could be asked after that one. For example, were you considering firing Jack Easterby and did he, for example, come to your house and somehow change your mind? Also, what role did Easterby’s and Caserio’s agent, Bob LaMonte, play in this process?

Did LaMonte, for example, suggest that Caserio would be hired by a team like, for example, Carolina and that he would take, for example, Easterby with him?

Now that you have two LaMonte clients in key roles in the organization, should we assume that only coaching candidates represented by LaMonte will be considered for the coaching job?

McNair, and Caserio, likewise will face plenty of questions about the future of quarterback Deshaun Watson. They surely will say they’re not trading him. But what will they say about the current state of the relationship with Watson and how they plan to fix it?

The Texans have grossly mismanaged that relationship in recent weeks. Given that the have an objectively unqualified executive V.P. of football operations, it’s no surprise. Indeed, this is exactly what you get when you entrust such important duties to someone who has (to borrow a phrase that emerged this week in anther context) such a high ratio of ambition to accomplishment.

Of course, Jack Easterby won’t be present on Friday to face questions regarding his own role in the disintegration of the relationship with Watson; that’s one of the perks of not technically being a “football guy.” Still, those questions are critical to understanding the current status of the interplay between franchise and franchise quarterback. And Easterby may be the best one to answer them.

At a time when so many are saying, “There’s no way you trade a 25-year-old franchise quarterback,” the bigger point is this: There’s no way you let your relationship with a 25-year-old franchise quarterback get to the point where he’s sufficiently upset with you that he’s not answering your calls and he’s telling teammates he’s going to ask for a trade.

The Texans told him he’d have a seat at the table regarding the G.M. and coaching hires, and then they ignored what he brought to the table. Why involve him if you’re going to ignore him?

We think we know the answer to that question. And when today’s press conference unfolds, we’ll be listening carefully for words, phrases, or clauses that are code for a mindset that quite possibly still lingers in the organization, even after the passing of the man who said it.

We can’t have the inmates running the prison.”

What caused Cal McNair to disregard Korn Ferry’s G.M. finalists? originally appeared on Pro Football Talk