NFL Referees get 8 year deal, pay raise
The eight-year deal -- the longest ever for officials, according to the NFL -- gives the union referees a pay raise and keeps their pension program in place for five years.
Union members still must ratify the deal, but the league has lifted the lockout to allow crews to handle games, pending that vote.
The eight-year deal includes details about officials' pensions and retirement benefits, and adds a pay bump from $149,000 a year in 2011 to $173,000 in 2013. The pay will rise to $205,000 by 2019.
The agreement will also allow the NFL to hire some officials on a year-round basis and hire additional referees so they can be trained.
"This agreement supports long-term reforms that will make officiating better. The teams, players and fans want and deserve both consistency and quality in officiating," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said.