Report: NFL And Referee Union Have Almost Reached A Deal, Real Refs May Be Back This Weekend

Jim Harbaugh, NFL coach, referee

Photo: AP Images

NFL fans rejoice.According to ESPN’s Chris Mortensen, “an agreement in principle is at hand.”

A source told Mortensen that although the NFL said it would take a week to get the real refs back in the game:

“…the NFLRA says its 121 referees have been trained on the new rules implemented last season, have already passed physicals or are prepared to pass physicals immediately.”

So, if everything gets settled, it looks like we could see the real refs back on the field by this weekend.

Here’s more on the concessions made from Mortensen’s report:

Both sides have made concessions on previous sticking points such as a taxi squad of 21 new officials and pension plans that sources say the final meaningful hurdle is, as one source said, “about a little more money.”

While league sources say owners who participated in a conference call with commissioner Roger Goodell during Tuesday’s talks had instructed the negotiating team to set a firm barrier for the financial settlement, the NFLRA is prepared to accept a new agreement primarily in the form of a “ratification bonus,” which would compensate its 121-member union for concessions it is willing to make.

The NFLRA and the league have all but agreed on developing a 21-member “taxi squad” that Goodell has pushed, but not at the financial cost of the union members.

UPDATE, from Mike Freeman, CBS’s NFL Insider:

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