From Comcast SportsNetNEW YORK (AP) -- The NFL has devised a temporary five-week schedule for using replacement officials.A person familiar with the schedule told The Associated Press on Monday that the setup is done through Week 5 of the regular season. The regular officials are locked out and replacements worked the preseason and the first week of the regular season.The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the league has not made public officiating schedules.In early June, the league locked out the officials, who are part-time NFL employees, after their collective bargaining agreement expired. The NFL Referees Association and the league met for three days at the beginning of September before talks collapsed.The NFL and the union, which covers more than 120 on-field officials, are at odds over salary, retirement benefits and operational issues. The NFL has said its offer includes annual pay increases that could earn an experienced official more than 200,000 annually by 2018. The NFLRA has disputed the value of the proposal, insisting it would ultimately reduce their compensation.Replacements were used in 2001, but only for one week of the regular season before a deal was reached.This year's replacements have had some errors, particularly late in Arizona's 20-16 victory over Seattle when the Seahawks were awarded an extra timeout. The officiating crew admitted its mistake after the game.
The Woj bombs are gonna start dropping a little earlier this year.
NBA, NBPA agree to modify the time teams can begin negotiating with free agents.— Chris Miller 🎥🎙🏀 (@cmillsnbcs) May 24, 2019
Teams and players will now be permitted to begin free agent negotiations at 6 p.m. ET on June 30 – six hours earlier than the previous start time of 12:01 a.m. ET on July 1.
The NBA and the NBA Players Association announced Friday that the two parties have agreed to move up the start of free agency by six hours. Teams can now begin negotiating with free agents at 6 p.m. ET on June 30 instead of having to wait until 12:01 ET on July 1.
The move ensures fans -- and eternally grateful media members -- don't have to stay up until midnight waiting for the madness that is NBA free agency to begin. As Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports put it, this is "quite possibly the best thing to happen with NBA free agency in years!"
MORE WIZARDS NEWS:
The Mystics reached their first WNBA Finals in franchise history in 2018 but were swept by the Seattle Storm in the championship series.
Elle Delle Donne -- who was recently named in WNBA.com's GM survey as the favorite to win league MVP -- is back for her third season in Washington.
Earlier Friday, the Mystics announced their final 12-woman roster for the 2019 season. Delle Donne and guard Kristi Toliver headline a team that includes nine returners from the 2018 team, as well as Meesseman, who played for the Mystics from 2013-17 but sat out in 2018 to focus on playing for the Belgian national team. The final roster spots went to WNBA rookies Kiara Leslie and Kim Mestdagh.
According to ESPN, the Mystics, Los Angeles Sparks and Las Vegas Aces are the favorites to win the championship this season.
The WNBA's 23rd season kicks of Friday night at 7:30 p.m. ET when the Atlanta Dream host the Dallas Wings.
MYSTICS VS. SUN HOW TO WATCH
What: Washington Mystics vs. Connecticut Sun, Regular Season Game 1
Where: Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, CT
When: 7:30 p.m. ET
Live Stream: You can live stream on WNBA's League Pass website by signing up for a free trial
NBC Sports Washington will be broadcasting 10 Mystics home games during the 2019 WNBA season. For the full regular season schedule, click here.
MORE MYSTICS NEWS:
- Kristi Toliver: Taking lessons from Wizards job into Mystics' push for WNBA title
- Training Camp Roster: Meesseman back in the fold after missing 2018 season
- New Face: Mystics picked Kiara Leslie in 2019 WNBA Draft