The Houston Texans shocked the NFL world Friday afternoon by deciding to move on from general manager Brian Gaine, and this could lead to a big Bill O’Brien problem.
The former Buffalo Bills executive was entering the second season of his five-year contract when the news was delivered.
Although Gaine’s blockbuster flop of an offseason should be criticized, something isn’t adding up here. Texans head coach O’Brien was crucial in the selection of the hiring process of Gaine. That likely will be the case again as McNair begins his search.
— Texans PR (@TexansPR) June 7, 2019
The biggest question is, what did Gaine do to fall out of grace so fast?
Last season, he found three potential franchise pieces in Keke Coutee, Jordan Thomas and Justin Reid: all without a first or second-round pick. Gaine also signed veteran safety Tyrann Mathieu to help fix the secondary.
The Texans won eight straight games, finishing with an 11-5 record and winning the AFC South for the third time in O’Brien’s era. It seemed Houston had the plan to contend for a postseason appearance for years to come.
Then the free agency of March came blowing in, setting the team back.
Gaine goes backwards
After refusing to make negotiations with either Mathieu or Kareem Jackson, Gaine signed Bradley Roby and Tashuan Gipson as their replacements. Matt Kalil was brought in to help correct the offensive line woes after missing all of 2018 with a lower leg injury.
However, the biggest blunder was Gaine’s inability to protect Deshaun Watson. He had one main job this offseason, protect Watson. Kalil will not do that after his slew of injuries. Both rookies Tytus Howard and Max Scharping are still trying to find their roles on Houston’s offensive line.
With three picks in the second round, Gaine should have packaged a deal together to move up and select Washington State’s, Andre Dillard. The highly regarded Cougar was known as one of the top pass protectors in this year’s draft.
Dillard’s now in Philadelphia since Howie Roseman jumped one spot over Houston to select the offensive tackle.
It seems as if O’Brien has full control of the Texans with McNair now in his father’s chair. Gaine fell out of graces in his marriage with the head coach and one filed for a divorce. It was quick, out of nowhere, and the judge made it official.
O’Brien has plenty of power for a coach who barely sits above a .500 record. He’s 1-3 in the playoff games with his only win coming over a team who started their third-string quarterback.
So what’s next?
Whether a fan of Gaine’s mixed-reviewed tenure, his sudden firing should be met with backlash. O’Brien’s stubbornness to have majority control has the Texans now in limbo. He’ll likely be in the room helping decide the team’s next GM as well.
The real question is, how much longer will the McNair’s put up with O’Brien’s underwhelming results before finally decide to cut the noose?
Houston is trying to become the Patriots of the South. Instead, they’re looking more like the former Cleveland Browns. So long as O’Brien’s grip is around the organization, he’ll be making the final say. That isn’t a good thing for Houston, who could waste away Watson’s talent as he continues to run for his life.
Good luck Texans fans, it’s going to be a long season.
If you’ve read this far and are depressed, don’t expect to be much more delighted with this week’s Two Minute Warning. With plenty of controversial subjects heading around the NFL World this week, strap in for a doozie; this isn’t going to be pretty.
Tyreek’s troubles arise
The Texans weren’t the only team with massive news heading into the weekend. After a thorough investigation, Johnson County’s district attorney announced that there is no “active investigation” regarding Kansas City Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill. The ruling ultimately will not affect Hill’s status with the league.
Hill had been involved in a child abuse case after his young son was injured. Kansas City suspended him from all team activities following the re-opening of the case after a leaked audio tape was released.
NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported there was “every reason to believe” Hill would be in training camp later this summer. That might not be the case now. Although Hill’s lawsuit might not hinder on Hill’s reinstatement, that doesn’t mean the NFL will not take action.
According to NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy, the NFL continues to defer to the pending action involving Child Protective Services; the existence or absence of a criminal investigation has no relevance to that.
Although there’s no visual representation, the league could suspend Hill due to “emotional misconduct.” Ravens cornerback Jimmy Smith received a four-game suspension for threats and emotional abuse of the mother of his three-year-old child.
Hill has been at the subject of domestic violence charges since his college days. The speedy receiver was kicked off the Oklahoma State football program due to allegations against assaulting his then-pregnant girlfriend, Crystal Espinal.
The Chiefs have a decision to make on Hill’s status. No matter if they decide to release him or stand by his actions, they’ll be walking out of this deal a loser. As talented as he may be, Hill’s troubled baggage has finally caught up with him, this time possibly for good.
There’s no place for this type of behavior in the NFL.
Douglas done deal
With the news of the firing of Gaine, Philadelphia Eagles executive Joe Douglas was in a prime spot. After interviewing with the New York Jets, he waited to see what else would arise before signing his contract. The Texans had reached out to the Eagles to request an interview but were turned away due to Philadelphia’s postseason run.
In the end, Douglas walks away as the biggest winner as Jets fans begin to rejoice his hiring.
The Jets came to terms with their new GM Friday evening, signing Douglas to a six-year deal. According to reports, New York only offered the long-time scout just $1.5 million a year during initial talks. Following Gaine’s departure, Douglas will now make $3 million per season, doubling the offer in his favor.
While Douglas is now a richer man, Jets fans should be rejoicing with excitement. Learning from Ozzie Newsome, one of this century’s top general managers when finding talent, New York’s new GM should help build the team into an eventual contender. Although we’ll have to wait and see his status, Douglas’ knowledge and strong scouting skills should help New York in the mid-rounds come draft season.
Things are looking up for one team in the Big Apple. That is, of course, so long as Douglas is not a “yes man” to head coach Adam Gase. We just saw how one of those deals turned out.
Media man making moves?
Following the firing of Mike Maccagnan, the Jets reportedly were linked to NFL’s Network’s draft analyst, Daniel Jeremiah. Although not expected to become the GM, the former scout turned television standout was projected to be up for an executive role with the organization.
While Jeremiah has stated he never received a call, the report is still right about reaching out to a draft analyst.
According to ESPN’s Rich Cimini, Douglas could bring in ESPN’s Todd McShay for a role in the front office.
“Joe is considering his multiple options, and I’m one of the options,” McShay said, who does not have experience working for an NFL team.
Douglas and McShay have a long history and mutual respect throughout their careers. The two were teammates during their time at the University of Richmond.
While Mel Kiper Jr. might have perfected the world of covering the NFL Draft, McShay is the stronger analyst. Under the right staff, he could grow into a future top-level executive.
With a trend of color analyst and media members getting a chance at the NFL, McShay leaving for the NFL makes sense.
The big question is; whom is Kiper going to slow down if he leaves?
“Dan, Dan, Dan, Dan,” Kiper might start saying.
Manning days numbered?
The New York Giants were universally panned for their selection of Duke quarterback Daniel Jones in April’s draft. That’s not going to away any time soon even if Jones ends up becoming a Pro Bowl talent.
Still, while Dave Gettleman reached for his QB of the future, he could be seeing plenty of action sooner than some expect.
Multiple sources have told PFN that Jones outplayed current Giants quarterback Eli Manning throughout minicamp. Athletic, sharp and more accurate than the veteran gunslinger, Jones looked the part under center. Manning, on the other hand, looked as if he had lost his oomph when throwing the ball during the offseason.
This offseason he lost his oomph – this was the offseason?
It’s only June, so everything right now is speculation. Jones made some great throws, but that’s only towards the naked eye from 30 yards away. He’s far from NFL ready but then again, is Manning even NFL material?
While Jones has faced the critics before taking a snap, comments like this won’t help his case. Former Giants center Shaun O’Hara praised the rookie on his adjustment to the NFL by comparing him to both Manning brothers.
“If you put Peyton Manning and Eli Manning in a blender, [Jones] is what you’d get,” O’Hara said, via SNY.
Shaun, if you put the Mannings in a blender, you have a murder case on your hands.
Until otherwise, expect Manning to be the starter heading into the season. It won’t be too shocking to see head coach Pat Shurmur have the two-time Super Bowl quarterback on a tight leash.
The Jones era could be arriving sooner than later. Best be ready Giants fans.
10. The good man of the week award has to belong to Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson. The 32-year-old receiver was seen passing out food to the homeless in North Philadelphia on Saturday evening. After a five year hiatus from the Eagles, it’s clear Jackson is happy to be back in the city where he became a star.
DeSean Jackson last night went around North Philly giving food to the homeless
“We’ve got some free food for y’all”
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) June 9, 2019
Props to you Mr.Jackson. Thank you for setting an example for others to follow.
9. We have a Johnny Manziel sighting people. This is not a drill!
With the XFL officially underway, the league could be looking to bring in the former first-round Heisman Trophy winner for a chance to compete. Manziel told reporters he’d love the opportunity to play for either the Houston or Dallas franchise if offered a deal.
“It’s a stone’s throw from College Station,” Manziel said. “A lot of Aggies drove from Houston to College Station. Houston’s a great city that’ll always be near and dear to me.”
Manziel has ties to the Houston franchise past Texas A&M as his former offensive coordinator, June Jones, will be the head coach this season. Manziel’s NFL dream might be over, but don’t count out his XFL dream becoming a reality.
8. Whoever said you couldn’t teach an old dog new tricks needs to have a chat with Ryan Fitzpatrick. The veteran Dolphins quarterback channeled his inner Patrick Mahomes at practice to deliver a no-look pass to DeVante Parker.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is the best no-look passer in the NFLpic.twitter.com/rMCcgH0eDx
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) June 6, 2019
While Mahomes might be the inventor, Fitzmagic certainly is making his case for perfecting it.
7. The Chicago Bears are ready for the NFL’s 100th season. So much so, they unveiled on Thursday night their throwback uniforms that will be worn twice this season.
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) June 8, 2019
A recreation of their 1936 uniforms, Chicago is undoubtedly taking their millennium season to the extreme. What are your thoughts on the new threads?
6. Following the contract extension of Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, many speculated if Los Angeles Rams’ Jared Goff would soon be next. Rams’ Kevin Demoff silenced the talks of a new deal in the works quickly.
“They seem to be on a different timetable than we are,” Demoff said of the Eagles. “I don’t think we’re naïve enough to say that Carson’s signing is not relevant. I don’t think it changes the timing.
While the Rams might not be ready to sign Goff, that doesn’t mean he’s not a part of their long-term plan. Expect him to be paid but maybe not just yet.
5. No one should ever comment on DeAndre Hopkins toughness again. According to multiple reports, the Texans star wideout played with a torn shoulder ligament during last year’s 21-7 AFC Wild Card loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
“I tore ligaments in my shoulder completely off the bone,” he said, per John McClain of the Houston Chronicle. “I tried to play even though I had only one arm. We had something good going, and I know they needed me.”
Hopkins collected five catches for 37 yards, basically with one arm. He was also on the field for al 71 offensive snaps. Seriously, never doubt him again.
4. The Carolina Panthers announced Friday that quarterback Cam Newton would throw at the team’s minicamp this week. Newton, who underwent an arthroscopic procedure on his throwing shoulder, officially has been cleared to throw by the Panthers’ medical staff.
“This is all part of the rehab process,” head athletic trainer Ryan Vermillion said according to the team site. “Cam has worked extremely hard this offseason with his rehabilitation and his preparation.”
While Newton will be limited, he’s taking the steps in the right direction after suffering discomfort all last season. If he’s able to return by the start of the season, Carolina should be at least be considered a potential playoff team.
3. If you’ve ever doubted that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady wasn’t the G.O.A.T, this picture should say it all.
The Brady 6. pic.twitter.com/BK88mjvlU5
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) June 7, 2019
Sorry to all other AFC East fans for seeing this moment. Good luck this season with your sophomore quarterbacks.
2. Jets running back Le’Veon Bell might trust his skills on the field, but he might want want to reevaluate who he trust off of it. According to a police report, Bell was robbed of $250,000 worth of jewelry by two female acquaintances. Here’s the kicker though; both were his “girlfriend.”
Maybe pick one next time Le’Veon and stay with them? Otherwise, they might plot against you and steal your stuff.
1. Make sure you check out the Pro Football Network’s Podcast station. This week, Corey Ashburn finishes building his super team out in the NFC West while Dennis and Travis breakdown new weapons for the Baltimore Ravens.
Cole Thompson is the Lead NFL writer for Pro Football Network. Follow him on Twitter at @MrColeThompson.