CBS Sports The long, somewhat-overblown national nightmare that's been the referee lockout appears headed to a conclusion. A deal to get the regular referees back is on the horizon, as CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman confirms a tentative deal between the NFL and locked-out officials.
There's no signed agreement but a variety of sources tell Freman a deal is so close that locked out officials and the NFL could have something permanent in place by the end of the week. Significant progress was made during the past 24 hours.
NFL Referees Association negotiator Scott Green has told officials a deal likely won't happen today, a source tells Freeman, but Freeman was also told Green said a deal is extremely close, possibly being consummating by the end of the week.
Some of this is posturing by both sides. Neither side wants the other to think they've caved despite this progress. The bottom line is this: the economic divide between the locked out officials and the NFL has been significantly bridged. Most of the major financials have been bridged. There remain issues with the pension plan, still, but there's a feeling even this can be overcome quickly.
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