The New England Patriots have a secret weapon in director of player personnel Nick Caserio. Bill Belichick is the captain of the ship when the cameras are on, sure. But it’s Caserio who likely serves as the connective tissue that keeps the team going behind the scenes.
The jack of all trades has an extensive history playing, coaching, and working for the front office. Since 2001, he’s been an indispensable talent in New England. That’s why savvy Pats fans sighed with relief at Caserio’s contract renewal earlier this month.
For the uninitiated, let’s take a deep dive into Caserio’s remarkable career. Then, we’ll break down why Bill Belichick and the Patriots need him now more than ever.
The multifaceted career of Nick Caserio
Nick Caserio played high school football in the early ‘90s. His professional journey truly starts during his college years at John Carroll University. From 1995 to 1998, he was the Division III team’s go-to quarterback. He was good, but the school’s profile meant playing in the NFL was a minimal possibility.
It’s who Caserio played with, and what they learned together, that’s key here. Wide receiver Josh McDaniels — current offensive coordinator with the Patriots — played on the team for a time. The two became close friends.
Caserio and McDaniels both pivoted to college-level coaching, at least for a while. In 2001, both were hired as personnel assistants with the New England Patriots. Caserio focused on front office work, coordinating with players well beyond what his title implied. McDaniels set coaching as his goal. Both succeeded.
Caserio’s coaching background got him work as an offensive coaching assistant in 2002. He also served as the wide receivers coach in 2007. But, as his titles kept shifting, Caserio’s true role was something deeper.
Why Caserio is a perfect match for ‘The Patriot Way’
What Nick Caserio does, in a day-to-day sense, is to dedicate every layer of his talents to the team.
The famed “Patriot Way,” demanding personal accountability and putting the organization above all while under contract, explains how Caserio ended up in such a complex role. Offering everything he can to the team ends up naturally creating a role for which there is no formal title.
He oversees the Patriots’ scouting department. He serves as Belichick’s main point of contact between coaching staff and players. During games, he’s in the coaching booth. During practices, he’s known to throw practice passes with players.
In a regimented organization like the Patriots, the structures within the superstructure often end up partitioned off from each other. Caserio is the go-between that makes these separate groups of immense talents function as a single whole.
Why Caserio re-signed with the Patriots
Caserio’s work with the Patriots dates back to 2001. His recent contract renewal means he’ll be in New England for years to come.
His friend McDaniels spent some time leveraging the market value for his talents. From 2009 to 2011, McDaniels took head coach and offensive coordinator jobs with the Denver Broncos and the St. Louis Rams, respectively. But he found himself back with the Patriots by 2012.
Caserio’s time with the Patriots is uninterrupted, not coincidentally, across six Super Bowl wins. That isn’t for lack of other organizations trying. Big offers were reportedly on the table to get Caserio and McDaniels both individually and as a pair.
It didn’t go that way. Patriots owner Robert Kraft apparently understands that he has something special with Caserio. The team is entering uncharted territory. Tom Brady’s free agency looms. Keeping Caserio on board, likely at a steep cost, is worth it for the stability he brings during this crucial time.
Nick Caserio is the beating heart of the Patriots. As their Super Bowl era seemingly comes to a close, keeping him around might be the best shot to get back on track sooner rather than later.