Based off a number of published reports, the framework of a deal between the NFL and the locked out NFL Referees Association is close to being agreed upon.
According to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, negotiations have escalated over the past week and appear close to having a resolution.
The NFL and the NFL Referees Association made enough progress in negotiations Tuesday night that the possibility of the locked-out officials returning in time to work this week's games has been discussed, according to sources on both sides.
An agreement in principle is at hand, according to one source familiar to talks, although NFL owners have postured with a "no more compromise" stance.
We must caution that no deal is currently in place. There are still issues to iron out before the two sides can craft a deal that would be agreed upon in principle. Last summer's negotiations between the NFL and the NFL Players Association provide recent reminders about how these labor problems are handled, especially once a deal gets close.
But considering how far apart the two sides appeared to be as recently as two weeks ago, and the fiasco that has become the NFL's officiating with the replacement refs, any significant progress like what was reported Tuesday is a welcome sign.
The replacement ref era will officially come to an end when the two side agree upon a deal.
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