Bill O'Brien

Breer: Patriots were involved in DeAndre Hopkins trade talks

Breer: Patriots were involved in DeAndre Hopkins trade talks

The world was stunned when DeAndre Hopkins was traded to the Arizona Cardinals on Monday afternoon. Along with a fourth-round pick, Hopkins was sent to the desert with David Johnson, a second-round pick, and a fourth-round pick coming back to the Houston Texans.

But evidently, Hopkins being moved had been discussed in NFL circles in recent weeks. And according to Bert Breer, the New England Patriots were one of the teams involved in the trade talks surrounding Hopkins.

"I was actually told that they were part of the DeAndre Hopkins discussions over the past couple of weeks," Breer said on NBC Sports Boston's Arbella Early Edition.

Hopkins has long been one of the NFL's better receivers and posted 104 catches, 1,165 receiving yards and seven touchdowns for the Texans last season. It was his third consecutive 1,000+ yard season.

So, why didn't the Patriots ultimately get Hopkins at the low price that the Texans sold him for? According to Breer, they may have known too much about the veteran receiver.

"There was a little bit of a personality conflict between O'Brien and Hopkins. And it makes you wonder, maybe the Patriots had a little bit too much information on that," Breer said. "Maybe because they knew that, they thought that there could be an issue. And the other part of it is, of course, Hopkins wants a new contract. He's going to get one in Arizona. So, are you willing to go to $20, $21, $22 million a year for a receiver? That could've been a problem."

No matter what the reason, Hopkins won't be wearing Patriots colors this season.

The Patriots should still be looking for some help at the receiver position as they try to convince Tom Brady to return to the team. Could they have an interest in a guy like Stefon Diggs, who's latest cryptic tweet indicates he isn't happy in Minnesota? Maybe. But either way, expect the Patriots to explore some receiver options in the coming days.

Texans' moves with Bill O'Brien, Jack Easterby likely close door on Patriots' Nick Caserio to Houston

Texans' moves with Bill O'Brien, Jack Easterby likely close door on Patriots' Nick Caserio to Houston

It appears the Houston Texans' pursuit of Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio, which led to New England filing tampering charges against Houston last offseason, is over.

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The Texans have promoted coach Bill O'Brien to general manager and Jack Easterby, the former character coach with the Patriots, has been given the title of executive vice president of football operations.

The Texans operated without an official GM last season after they sought Caserio for the vacant position. The Patriots reportedly used photos and video of Easterby, who had been the Patriots character coach for six seasons, interacting with Caserio at the Super Bowl ring ceremony in June, as evidence of tampering.

The tampering charges were dropped a few days later after Houston withdrew its pursuit of Caserio, New England's director of player personnel since 2008, whose contract is up after the 2020 NFL Draft.  

NFL Rumors: Texans not interested in hiring Patriots executive Nick Caserio after the season

NFL Rumors: Texans not interested in hiring Patriots executive Nick Caserio after the season

This offseason, the Houston Texans' pursuit of New England Patriots executive Nick Caserio was the root cause of some drama between the two teams. As the Texans tried to lure Caserio to Houston to become their next general manager, the Patriots filed tampering charges against their AFC rival and ultimately stopped their pursuit dead in its tracks.

However, though the tampering charges were considered to be "water under the bridge" by Bill Belichick, it was widely expected that the Texans would have renewed interest in Caserio following the season when his contract with the Patriots expires. It no longer appears that will be the case.

According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the Texans are planning on sticking with the current structure they have in their front office. They're no longer interested in adding Caserio and will continue on with Bill O'Brien and Jack Easterby running things.

Sources say that the Texans plan to continue this offseason and beyond with their current personnel structure rather than hire a true general manager in title. Coach Bill O'Brien has final say, though he essentially works with the team's executive VP of team development Jack Easterby to be in charge of football operations.

Rapoport went on to detail the unique structure of the GM-less front office and seemed to indicate that the moves the Texans have pulled off in trading for Laremy Tunsil, Carlos Hyde, and Duke Johnson while trading away Jadeveon Clowney have solidified the notion that they want to keep the status quo in the front office. So, that would mean that Caserio wouldn't be part of the plans.

Of course, things could change for the Texans and it's possible that they could have a change of heart if Caserio becomes available, given the interest they showed in him last offseason. But if that interest has diminished, it could give the Patriots a better chance to keep him around.

That said, it's also possible that Caserio could be ready to move onto another front office when his contract expires. And certainly, if any team moves on from a high-ranking personnel man or GM, he could garner interest from them. So, if the Patriots want to keep him around, they'll still have work to do.

Either way, Caserio's status moving forward will remain a source of intrigue, whether it's related to the Texans or not. The Patriots still have a big decision to make about his future.

Tom E. Curran's Patriots-Texans preview>>>

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