HOUSTON - When the Texans hire their new general manager he will report to owner Bob McNair and his son, Cal, the team's vice chairman and chief operating officer.
"The new GM will come in and has responsibility for all personnel, for the draft, free agency and football operations, and he reports to Cal and to me," said Bob McNair. "That will be permanent.
"Some people have raised the question, 'well if (Texans executive vice president) Rick (Smith) comes back at the end of a year, then he's going to have undue influence or something on the GM', and of course that's not the case at all."
Smith has taken an extended leave of absence to care for his wife, Tiffany, who is battling breast cancer.
"Number one, we don't know what Rick might do," Bob McNair said. "The only concern there is to take care of his family, and we're not going beyond that. Rick might decide that he doesn't want to come back. That's something we'll discuss a year from now. In any case, it will not change who the GM reports to and his responsibilities.
Bob McNair said it is critical for his candidates to understand the Texans chain of command.
"It's important because they want to know that they're going into a stable situation," Bob McNair said. That it's not going to change around after they're here. This is just to say to them this is unusual in that someone's taking a leave of absence, but there's a very important reason why they're doing that. Rick doesn't know how long he might have to stay away from work and take care of his family."
Bob McNair has formed his committee within the Texans that will hire the new general manager
"There are four of us on the interviewing committee, Cal, that's coach (Bill O'Brien), that's (Texans president) Jamey Rootes and myself. We all are on the same page as to what we're looking for, and we'll select somebody that I think we all agree on. That'll be a sign of unity."
Bob McNair said it will be a big help to have his head coach on the committee.
"I think it's very important that he knows he has input in the selection of the person that's going to be here," Bob McNair said. "That puts his imprint on it, and that's good."
The search firm, Korn Ferry, will also have input.
"Number one they're a resource," Bob McNair said. "They've conducted a number of searches. They know all of the candidates out there. They have interviewed them previously over the last year or so."
Bob McNair said he and his group have a good idea of who they want to meet with.
"There are about five or six candidates," Bob McNair said. "Some of the teams are still playing and we've not received permission yet from them to be able to interview the people we want to interview.
"Others we've received permission, and we'll start the process next week and we'll make a decision and move ahead. We've got plenty of good candidates."
One of the candidates is Jimmy Raye III, Texans vice president of football operations and assistant general manager.
"We're going to interview him," Bob McNair said. "I talked to him first and told him that we want to interview him.
"I think he's a legitimate candidate."
McNair did not divulge who is other candidates are, but beyond Raye, the list is known to include Bills vice president of player personnel Brian Gaine, Packers director of player personnel Brian Gutekunst and Patriots vice president of player personnel Nick Caserio.
Bob McNair hopes to have the search wrapped up later this month.
"I would hope in a couple of weeks, two or three weeks, we oughta have our person in place," Bob McNair said.
Meanwhile, very high on Bob McNair's radar is signing O'Brien to a long-term extension.
O'Brien is going into the final year of his contract.
"We're going to address that right after we deal with hiring the GM," Bob McNair said. "I think that we'll work something out that we're all happy with.
"It just provides a stable environment for everybody if they know exactly what they're dealing with. We aren't just going to leave it hanging.
"I think he's good at developing players, and I think he's a good strategist. I think his concepts are sound, and he constantly wants to improve his coaching staff. That's why we're making some changes there."
The Texans owner also wants to extend Pro Bowl linebacker/defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who is going into the final year of his contract.
"He's a good player," Bob McNair said. "He plays hard. We want him to spend his career with us. So we'll be working on that."
Bob McNair is thrilled about the future of his franchise with a quarterback like Deshaun Watson.
"He excited everybody, and not just people in Houston, but people all over the country," Bob McNair said. "As I travel around and visit with other teams, they were all talking about Watson and what an exciting, charismatic player and great leader that he is. It makes for a very exciting time for the Texans and for Houston.
"It's the first time that we've really had a quarterback that we know can go out there and perform at a high level, and is as electric as Watson is.We've got the most exciting offensive player that you could imagine.
"Then you pair him with (Pro Bowl receiver) DeAndre Hopkins and I think it's going to be lights out for them."