Ever since the Patriots slapped the Texans with tampering charges earlier this month, the drama in Foxboro has continued to grow. According to Ben Volin of the Boston Globe, Patriots Director of Player Personnel Nick Caserio wants out of New England.
This all started earlier in June when the Patriots filed tampering charges with the league against the Texans. According to the charges, the Texans made unsanctioned attempts to sway Caserio away from New England. Former Patriots staff member and current Texans exec Jack Easterby reportedly made a number of overtures to Caserio, including at the Patriots' Super Bowl ring ceremony earlier this month. The Patriots complained to the league because Caserio is still under contract through the upcoming 2019 season, and they did not give the Texans permission to reach out to him.
According to Volin, this is all because Caserio wants to leave New England and that the situation is much worse than it even appears.
Before we go further, let's put this story into context. Over the past 48 hours, Volin has gone back and forth between describing this story as an opinion and as a report. He originally claimed it was an opinion piece, but then in a radio interview argued that it is a report.
Personally, the situation seems a little overblown. Volin's piece, on first reading, seemed more like an opinion piece because it put context to the situation but did not include any anonymous sources. Volin's reaction is what makes it all rather hysterical. Going back and forth between describing it as a report and as analysis or opinion is odd, and he is making an oddly aggressive attempt to defend his own credibility.
In his radio interview with the Mut and Callahan Show, he defended his credibility by pointing out that he was the first one to break the news earlier this offseason that Jack Easterby was leaving the Patriots. This really doesn't say much however, because a certain ProFootballTalkLine can say for a fact that this news was known amongst One Patriot Place long before Volin ever made the initial report.
Plus, Volin's article contains a whole host of oddly contorted facts, such as saying that this situation and the other personnel departures "raises questions about the working environment in Foxboro." The number of coaches and staff members who have left in the past two seasons is not anything particularly out of the ordinary. This happened towards the end of the Patriots first dynasty. After a number of years of success, it's routine for personnel to want to move on and try their luck in a different position. Volin's argument seems lazy and unnecessarily negative.
To his credit, Volin does make some valid points. It does seem likely that Caserio had some interest in leaving New England. He may have asked the Patriots to be released from his contract, thus forcing the team's hand in issuing the tampering charges.
However, Volin's negative cloud is exaggerated, especially because of his odd commitment to the idea that he has some source behind all of this. As much as there's a chance that Caserio wanted to leave New England, it is also entirely possible that he had no interest in the Texans job and that he reported his contact to the Patriots out of respect for his employer.
That certainly makes me sound like a homer, sunshine-and-rainbows Patriots writer that refuses to paint a negative image of New England. On the contrary, I just see it as facts. If we can take a story and make up our own context around it based on the facts that we know, it is just as likely that Nick Caserio has no interest in leaving New England.