TAMPA, Fla. -- Detroit Lions coach Jim Caldwell's multiyear contract extension, signed earlier this year, appears to provide less job security than initially believed, a source confirmed to ESPN.
The source said Caldwell's extension is guaranteed for only 2018 with team options beyond that, so if the Lions decide to fire Caldwell, they would have to pay him for next season only.
Prior to Sunday's game, Lions president Rod Wood and general manager Bob Quinn declined to stop and talk with reporters while in the press box.
NFL Network first reported the extensions contained in Caldwell's contract.
Caldwell is in his fourth season with the Lions and has a 33-27 record, including a 6-6 record in 2017 entering Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He has taken the Lions to the playoffs in two of his three seasons in Detroit and holds a 59-49 career record with the Lions and Indianapolis Colts.
When news of the extension came out in September, the Lions said the contract had been signed months ago, keeping him from being a lame-duck head coach, and was a multiyear deal. When they confirmed the extension, Wood said it was a mutual decision between the club and Caldwell not to make the extension public knowledge.
Caldwell has been on and off the hot seat since the middle of the 2015 season, when the Lions started 1-6 and he fired offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi and offensive line coaches Jeremiah Washburn and Terry Heffernan, promoting Jim Bob Cooter to offensive coordinator and Ron Prince to offensive line coach.
Caldwell's job was in question at the end of the 2016 season, when the Lions lost three straight games to close the regular season, but still made the playoffs because Washington lost in Week 17. The Lions were then blown out by the Seattle Seahawks in the wild-card round.
Detroit began this season 3-1 but have lost their last two games -- both critical to the playoff race -- without ever holding a lead. The Lions have also had issues getting the right number of players on the field, putting 10 men on defense for a Minnesota Vikings touchdown on Thanksgiving and nine men on a critical third down in a loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
Caldwell has taken the blame for both gaffes repeatedly during news conferences over the past two weeks.
The Lions are all but out of the NFC North title race -- something that appeared wide open after Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers broke his right collarbone in Week 6 -- and likely need to win out and receive some help to make the playoffs as a wild-card team.
Detroit has not won a division title since 1993 and last won a playoff game during the 1991 season.