Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson hasn't shied away from expressing his frustrations with his team's decision to hire former Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio as its next general manager.
Over the past 10 months, the Texans' organization has undergone a slew of monumental changes, including trading away DeAndre Hopkins for David Johnson and draft picks and firing head coach Bill O'Brien. Former Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson took to Twitter on Tuesday to defend the star quarterback.
"If I'm Deshaun Watson, I will stand my ground," Johnson said on Twitter. "The Texans organization is known for wasting players careers. Since Jack Easterby has walk into the building nothin good has happened in/for the organization and for some reason someone can't seem to see what's going on. Pathetic!!!"
Jack Easterby was named the executive vice president of football operations on Jan. 28, 2020 after serving as the team's executive vice president of team development in 2019. Easterby manages all football operations and directs the overall culture of the organization.
According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Texans chairman and CEO Cal McNair paid search firm Korn Ferry thousands of dollars, but reportedly ignored their recommendation of hiring minority candidates in Steelers vice president of football and business administration Omar Khan or Monday Night Football analyst Louis Riddick, and instead went with Caserio—a close tie to Easterby.
Watson was upset about the team's insensitivity to social justice issues and its hiring practices after the franchise failed to interview Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy last week for the vacant head coaching position, according to ESPN's Chris Mortensen.
In November, McNair had dinner with Watson, telling ESPN that he welcomes Watson's input, respects his opinion and wants the star quarterback "to be happy.”
Watson, along with his agent David Mulugheta, spoke to McNair again in a Zoom session to discuss potential candidates, but the Texans ultimately chose Caserio and did not consult with Watson.
The QB has reportedly informed team brass he wants Texans OC Tim Kelly to remain with the team, a source told ESPN.
To Johnson's point, the Texans have let go of good talent. Houston released Johnson in March 2015 after 12 seasons. At that time, Johnson—the former third-overall pick in the 2003 NFL draft—held every team record in every relevant receiving category.
Similar to Johnson, Hopkins—a four-time NFL Pro Bowler—was traded after recording 8,602 receiving yards that included five years over the 1,100-yard receiving mark. Hopkins quote-tweeted Johnson saying, "When Dre speak listen."
Easterby pushed the team to trade Hopkins last offseason, Sports Illustrated's Jenny Vrentas and Greg Bishop report.
Four sources told Sports Illustrated that Easterby was the first, and most persistent, advocate for the team dealing the star receiver. O'Brien was previously regarded as the primary advocate for dealing Hopkins to the Cardinals.
One source told Sports Illustrated that on multiple occasions in 2019, Easterby told a small group of people that “we need to move on from that person,” referring to Hopkins without using the wideout's name. Another source told SI that they later learned the Texans discussed trading Hopkins as early as the summer of 2019.
Caserio spent 20 seasons in New England. O'Brien spent five years with the Patriots before becoming head coach at Penn State and two years later becoming the head coach of the Texans. Once O'Brien was fired, Easterby took control of personnel. However, McNair came out and saw that Easterby would not be in charge of the team's roster or free agency moving forward.
Watson signed a five-year, $156 million contract extension in September, making him the second-highest-paid quarterback (with an AAV of $39 million) behind Mahomes.