The NFL and the referees’ union have reached a tentative contract agreement, ending an impasse that began in June when the league locked out the officials and used replacements instead.

The NFL said it planned to have regular refs work tonight’s Cleveland-Baltimore game.

With Commissioner Roger Goodell at the table, the sides concluded two days of talks at midnight Thursday with the announcement of a tentative eight-year deal, which must be ratified by the union’s 121 members.

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello tweeted “Pleased to report that an agreement has been reached with the NFL Referees Association. Details to follow.”

The replacements worked the first three weeks of games, triggering a wave of frustration that threatened to disrupt the rest of the season. After a missed call cost the Green Bay Packers a win on a chaotic final play at Seattle on Monday night, the two sides really got serious.

It was not certain who would work this week’s games, but ESPN reported regular refs will work tonight with Baltimore hosting the Browns.

The union was seeking improved salaries, retirement benefits and other logistical issues for the part-time officials. The NFL has proposed a pension freeze and a higher 401(k) match, and it wants to hire 21 more officials to improve the quality of officiating. The union has fought that, fearing it could lead to a loss of jobs for some of the current officials, as well as a reduction in overall compensation.

The NFL claimed its offers have included 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 means an overall reduction in compensation.

Replacement refs aren’t new to the NFL. They worked the first week of games in 2001 before a deal was reached. But those officials came from the highest level of college football; the current replacements do not. Their ability to call fast-moving NFL games drew mounting criticism through Week 3, climaxing last weekend, when ESPN analyst Jon Gruden called their work “tragic and comical.”

Those comments came during Monday Night Football, with Seattle beating Green Bay 14-12 on a desperation pass into the end zone on the final play. Packers safety M.D. Jennings had both hands on the ball in the end zone, and when he fell to the ground in a scrum, both Jennings and Seahawks receiver Golden Tate had their arms on the ball.

Turf toe shelves Wells

The Arizona Cardinals will be without running back Beanie Wells, a former standout at Garfield High School, for at least seven games because of a severe turf toe injury sustained in Sunday’s 27-6 victory over Philadelphia.

The team placed Wells on the NFL’s new injured reserve/designated for return list. That allows him to return to practice Nov. 7 and to play in the Cardinals’ home game against the St. Louis Rams on Nov. 25.

Wells has rushed for 76 yards on 29 carries and has caught one pass for 24 yards in three games this season.

Quarterback Kevin Kolb called it “a huge loss.”

“He’s a big part of our team and he’s a nice counter to the rest of our backs, the way he runs,” Kolb said, “and a leader. He’s stepped up as a big leader the last year and a half.”

The injury will leave the bulk of the running game load on second-year pro Ryan Williams, who had been splitting time with Wells. Williams rushed for 83 yards on 13 carries against Philadelphia.

Williams said the performance helped him get over his critical fumble the previous week at New England, which gave the Patriots a chance at the game-winning field goal, an attempt that missed. He said he expects five or 10 more carries against Miami on Sunday and feels no added pressure. Kolb said the team is confident in Williams’ ability to step into a larger role.

In a corresponding move, the Cardinals re-signed running back Alfonso Smith.

Forte expects to play

Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte expects to play Monday against the Dallas Cowboys after missing a game because of a sprained right ankle.

The Pro Bowl player practiced Wednesday for the first time since he was injured in a loss at Green Bay on Sept. 13. He sat out last week’s win over the St. Louis Rams.

He says he thinks he’ll “be good to go” and responded “Uh huh, yeah” when asked if he expects to be ready to play against the Cowboys.

Coach Lovie Smith tempered that a bit, saying Forte still has “a long ways to go.” But either way, the fact that he is practicing is a good sign for the Bears.

Rams’ top pick may debut

The St. Louis Rams’ first-round draft pick, defensive tackle Michael Brockers, could make his debut this week coming off a high right ankle sprain.

Brockers was limited in practice Wednesday, but both the player and coach Jeff Fisher are optimistic about playing Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks. Brockers would be ahead of schedule after getting hurt in the preseason finale with an injury that typically sidelines players for a month. The 322-pound Brockers thought there was a “pretty good chance” he’d play after his ankle held up during individual drills.

Around the league

The Kansas City Chiefs put center Rodney Hudson on injured reserve with a broken bone in his left leg and signed offensive linemen Russ Hochstein and Bryan Mattison to provide depth. Chiefs coach Romeo Crennel said veteran guard Ryan Lilja will start at center on Sunday against San Diego, and rookie Jeff Allen will take his place. … The Tennessee Titans placed defensive end Keyunta Dawson on injured reserve with a hamstring injury and signed defensive end Pannel Egboh to fill the roster spot. … The Oakland Raiders made a move to bolster their struggling pass rush by signing proven defensive end Andre Carter to a free-agent contract. … The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed defensive end Jeff Charleston to fill a roster spot that opened when Adrian Clayborn was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury. … Detroit Lions quarterback Shaun Hill worked with the first-team offense while Matthew Stafford sat out practice with a hip injury.

Belichick fined $50,000

The NFL fined New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick $50,000 and Washington Redskins assistant Kyle Shanahan $25,000 for their conduct toward replacement officials.

Belichick grabbed an official’s arm at the end of Sunday night’s game after the Ravens kicked a winning field goal. Shanahan, a son of former head coach Mike Shanahan, was cited by the league for “abuse of officials” in Washington’s loss to Cincinnati.