After over a month of searching, the Houston Texans have decided to go with a front office-by-committee approach to the GM position.
On June 7, the Houston Texans made the surprising move to relieve general manager Brian Gaine of his duties, just a year and a half into his five-year contract. The timing, in particular, was peculiar — typically, teams do not clean house in the front office until the end of a season, not mere months before it begins.
At the time, Houston chose to name executive senior vice president Chris Olsen interim general manager while also conducting a search for someone to replace Gaine. In the days that followed, the Texans reportedly interviewed San Francisco 49ers vice president of player personnel Martin Mayhew, former Cleveland Browns general manager Ray Farmer and tried to get time with New England Patriots player personnel director Nick Caserio, but that attempt failed and also got the Texans accused of tampering.
After nearly a month with no particular developments, we now know how the Texans will handle their top front-office position this year: By not having a general manager at all.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on Wednesday that Houston “will divvy up those responsibilities amongst existing front-office members such as Matt Bazirgan, James Liipfert, Chris Olsen and Jack Easterby, per league sources.”
It’s a unique solution to a unique problem, one that owes mostly to Gaines’ late firing in a thin labor pool and apparently in part because the candidates the Texans have reached out to must have underwhelmed. Of course, the Texans got themselves into this situation in the first place by choosing to wait until June to decide that Gaines was not going to work out in the position.
While NFL front offices are often collaborative, this general-manager-by-committee approach could result in a “too many cooks spoil the sauce” situation. And with a minimum of four people doing the job that typically falls to one could present clashes of philosophy that spill over to the Texans’ on-field performance this season.
On the other hand, Houston might end up finding that this unconventional arrangement works out better for them and, in the copycat NFL, could end up starting a trend.
But it is fair to say that as we approach mid-July, with training camp starting in mere weeks, the Texans had to find a solution to the vacancy. This multi-person approach is the best they could come up with.