New York The NFL Referees Union has a day to consider a new offer by the league before replacements are assigned to work the opening week of the regular season.
The NFL increased its offer to the locked-out officials Wednesday but rejected a call by the union for arbitration in a meeting that lasted just a half-hour.
Then union negotiator Tom Condon flew home to Kansas City. He was due to discuss the offer in a conference call late Wednesday night with the union's four-member executive committee Ed Hochuli, Bill Carollo, Jeff Bergman and Ben Montgomery.
The NFL offer includes a 60 percent increase in salaries this year, compared with the 40-percent jump in the NFL's last offer. But the rest of the package remains the same, with officials' salaries doubled by 2003.
Even the new offer is far below what the union has demanded.
League spokesman Greg Aiello said the league had to know the union's response by today in order to make plans for the weekend.