Per team policy, the Texans don't comment publicly on negotiations, interviews or transactions until they are official.
Rapoport's report said O'Brien is "very high on their radar", and that the Texans were scheduled to meet with him at an unspecified time after Christmas.
According to Rapoport, O'Brien's buyout has been lowered from $13 million to around $6.5 million.
Before he took the head coaching job with the Nittany Lions, O'Brien was the offensive coordinator in New England in 2011. Altogether, he was an assistant with the Patriots from 2007 to 2011. In that span, New England played in a pair of Super Bowls.