With the legal spread of the game, it is more important than ever that the NFL give the impression that it is doing everything in its power to ensure that officials receive as many calls as possible. And of course, the NFL has put its referee program full time on the ice.
Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com reports that the league has set aside its full-time officials as part of ongoing working discussions with the NFL Referees Association. This means that NFL officials will become part-time employees again, which is likely to be a problem for NFL officials who have become full-time employees (and who in turn have given up on their other part-time assignments).
This is undoubtedly an NFL bargaining tactic, which showed in 2012 that it was more than willing to compromise the quality of the arbitration (and thus the integrity of the game) by locking the officials and hiring substitutes. After three embarrassing weekends, the league has resolved the work stoppage.
The NFL's current contract of employment extends to March 2020. This probably means that the NFL will go back on its money and underestimate a function that will become more and more important when the NFL is about to earn millions of dollars after the legalization of sports betting.