On Monday morning, the Houston Texans sacked Jack Easterby, their executive vice president of football operations, ending his 32-year tenure with the team.
Working under former coach and general manager Bill O’Brien, Easterby joined Houston in 2019. After O’Brien was fired following an 0-4 start to the 2020 season, he assumed a bigger role, although current general manager Nick Caserio took over the roster after being hired in 2021.
In a statement, Texans chairman and CEO Cal McNair said, “I talked with Executive Vice President of Football Operations Jack Easterby and we have mutually chosen to part ways. For the remainder of the season, beginning immediately, his responsibilities will be assumed by our Football Operations team.
A significant shakeup in Houston: Texans are parting ways with their executive vice president of football operations Jack Easterby, sources tell ESPN. Houston hired Easterby in 2019 and he had a major voice in the organization.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 17, 2022
During Easterby’s tenure, the Texans made three franchise-changing transactions, two of which cost the team important draught capital prior to last spring’s reset and the departure of disgraced quarterback Deshaun Watson. Between 2015 and 2019, Houston made the playoffs four times. In 2020 and 2021, Houston finished 4-12 and 4-13.
An abundance of draught picks that will help Caserio during Houston’s rebuilding period were received by the Texans in exchange for trading Watson to the Cleveland Browns earlier this year after he decided he no longer wanted to play for owner Cal McNair.
When Watson was accused of sexual misconduct and sued by numerous women over his behavior in massage sessions while in Houston, he was suspended for the first 11 games of this season and fined $5 million.
Of the 25 lawsuits brought against Watson, 23 have been resolved. The most recent was initiated on October 13.
One of the three first-round picks the Texans acquired in the Watson trade was previously used by them in the 2022 draught. In addition to two potential mid-round picks, Houston also owns additional first-round picks in 2023 and 2024.
However, a pair of trades for which O’Brien received heavy criticism was mostly to blame for the Texans’ decline before the Watson scandal.
In return for left tackle Laremy Tunsil in 2019, the team gave up two first-round picks and a second, then in the deal for All-Pro receiver DeAndre Hopkins a year later, they only received a second-round pick. In that trade, the Cardinals also forced Houston to take on the pricey and ineffective running back David Johnson.
The Texans also let standout defensive end J.J. Watt go at his request. In 2021, Watt—possibly their most significant franchise figure—will be born. Since sacking O’Brien, Houston has hired two coaches, giving David Culley just one season before bringing in Smith.
An article from Sports Illustrated from 2020 that was critical of Easterby’s period was possibly just as harsh. It questioned his qualifications for the Texans position, including the validity of his resume, while examining the clout he appeared to have with McNair and the circumstances surrounding his appointment to Houston’s football operations.
Prior to joining the organization, Easterby frequently filled jobs such as team chaplain or character coach, serving in both capacities with the New England Patriots from 2013 to 2018.
The football operations position may appeal to candidates because of Houston’s draught assets and young players like cornerback Derek Stingley Jr., quarterback Davis Mills, and running back Dameon Pierce.