Jim Caldwell is staying in Motown for the long haul.
The Detroit Lions signed their head coach to a multi-year extension this spring, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Saturday. The deal was previously undisclosed.
Caldwell has been Detroit’s coach since 2014, compiling a 29-21 record through Week 2 of this season. He has taken the Lions to two playoff appearances in three-plus years at the helm, the most by a Lions coach since Bobby Ross in 1999.
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The former Colts coach’s tenure in Detroit has seen highs and lows. In his first season at the helm, Caldwell coached the Lions to an 11-5 record, their best since 1991, and was one questionable call away from reaching the Divisional Round. Detroit missed the postseason in 2015, but returned last season behind an MVP-worthy campaign from Matthew Stafford.
All the while, Caldwell fielded questions about job security, from the end of the 2015 season all the way up until this past week. When asked this week about increased calls for a new contract, Caldwell told reporters that such talk is “not important.” Now we know why.
The timing of this announcement makes too much sense. With the Lions undefeated and fresh off a thorough domination of a 2016 playoff team on the road, Caldwell’s stock, and the team’s, has never been higher. Atop the NFC North, Detroit has the defending NFC champion Atlanta Falcons up next. A win on Sunday would certainly validate Detroit’s decision to continue the Caldwell era, but best to announce the extension when there is a guaranteed air of good feelings around the facility.
With Caldwell under contract for the next few years and Stafford under center through 2022, the Lions have a leadership core around which to build a perennial contender in the NFC North.