Jim Caldwell’s new contract officially can be called as Rextension.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Media reports that the deal secretly signed by Caldwell in the offseason, and disclosed earlier this year guarantees Caldwell’s pay only through 2018, with an option for 2019 and beyond.
It’s a device that has been used on multiple occasions in recent years, creating the illusion of security that doesn’t really exist. For example, the last contract received by former Jets coach Rex Ryan guaranteed only one year beyond 2014 — and he was fired after the 2014 season.
This structure means that a buyout would consist of paying Caldwell for only one year, making it a lot more affordable to move on from a coach whose team has underachieved this year, in relation to its expectations. The last straw may have been last Sunday’s nine-man formation on defense against the Ravens on a third-and-seven play — when Baltimore gained 27 yards. (In the prior game, the Lions had 10 men on the field when the Vikings scored one of their touchdowns.)
As PFT Live co-host Chris Simms mentioned last week (I think we were in a break at the time but who knows?), former NFL coach Bill Parcells used to say that, regardless of how little owners know about football, they can count to 11.
Owners also know whether they team makes it to the playoffs. The Lions, at 6-6, are in danger of not making it. Which puts Jim Caldwell in grave danger of not returning.