NFL and NFL Referees Reach Deal, Lockout Ends
The NFL and the Referees union announced that a tentative agreement has been reached to end the referee lockout that began in June after two days of marathon negotiations and negative reaction from coaches, players and fans.
Referees union president, Scott Green told ESPN.com "We are glad to be getting back on the field for this week's games."
The tentative eight year deal will cover the 2012-2019 seasons. The agreement hinged on working out salary, pension and retirement benefits for the officials. It calls for their salaries to increase from an average of $149,000 in 2011 to $173,000 in 2013, rising to $205,000 by 2019.
The officials current pension plan will remain in place for current officials through the 2016 season or until the official hits 20 years of service, at that time, their plan will be frozen. Retirement benefits will given through a defined contribution arrangement to newly hired officials and all officials starting in 2017. The league contribution will start with an average of more than $18,000 per official and increase to more than $23,000 per official in 2019.
Starting with next season, the officials will have the option to work on a full-time basis. The regular officials are schedule to be back on the field tonight when the Cleveland Browns take on the Baltimore Ravens in an AFC North division match up, you can hear that game right here on Sportsradio 1340 The Fan starting at 7 PM.