Could the Patriots’ former personnel chief make his way back to New England this offseason? That’s what one veteran NFL reporter recently heard.
John McClain, who covers the Texans for Gallery Sports, said a friend told him at the NFL Scouting Combine that Caserio — Houston’s current general manager — will rejoin the Patriots after this month’s 2023 NFL Draft.
McClain quickly added that he personally doubted that would happen, saying Texans ownership is pleased with the work Caserio has done in his effort to rebuild the cellar-dwelling franchise.
“I had somebody tell me at the combine that they heard Caserio is going to go back to New England after the draft,” McClain said Wednesday on Sports Radio 610’s “Payne & Pendergast.” “And I said, ‘So he’s going to walk away from a $5 million contract after two years on the job, after he’s put in all that work?’ And this guy said, ‘It’s just something I’ve heard.’ I have no idea if any of that’s true. I can’t imagine Nick Caserio would be leaving knowing how happy the McNairs are with him right now and how well he works with (new Texans head coach) DeMeco Ryans.”
Caserio spent 20 seasons with the Patriots, including 13 as their director of player personnel, before becoming Houston’s GM in 2021. The Texans have a record of 7-26-1 over his two seasons and own the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft.
Asked whether New England is angling to bring Caserio back, McClain replied: “I have no idea.”
“It’s just a friend told me that’s what he heard,” he said. “When I explained how well things are going (in Houston) now, he just shrugged his shoulders and said, ‘Well, I just heard that.’ I didn’t put any stock in it because (Bill) Belichick, in his contract, he has control of everything, so I can’t imagine Caserio, (who) couldn’t wait to get out of there, tried to come here twice and was unable to because of Belichick, would want to go back there where Belichick has control of everything.”
McClain’s comments came after former Patriots executive Mike Lombardi said on his “The GM Shuffle” podcast that he believes “there will be some organizational changes in Houston after the draft.”
“I’m not saying people will be fired,” Lombardi said, “but organizationally, things will be shifted.”
McClain said he did not know what Lombardi was referring to.
“Mike worked with Caserio and (Texans director of college scouting James) Liipfert for several years in New England,” McClain said in his radio interview. “So I don’t know what he’s talking about, but I can’t imagine what it would be.”
It’s unclear which role Caserio would fill if he does, in fact, return to New England. Matt Groh currently is the team’s director of player personnel, taking over that job last offseason when Caserio’s successor, Dave Ziegler, left to become GM of the Las Vegas Raiders. Belichick always has served as the Patriots’ head coach and de facto GM, with final say on all personnel decisions.