NFL training camps are less than a month away, signaling the unofficial start to the 2021 season. And for the most part, all 32 teams' rosters are set at this point. Nearly every notable free agent has found a home, Trevor Lawrence and his fellow rookies of the 2021 draft class are settling in with their new squads, and a handful of trades involving big-name players have reshaped depth charts.
But there is still work to be done. After all, roster management in the NFL is a 365-days-per-year exercise. There are still some players on the open market who can help teams, lineup holes across the league and plenty of contract talks to complete to keep franchise cornerstones in uniform for years to come.
With that in mind, let's take a look at one last move every NFL team ought to consider -- free-agent signings, trades, contract extensions and more -- between now and the start of the season. The clock is ticking. Let's begin in the AFC East.
Acquire tight end Zach Ertz from the Eagles
We'll start with a move that has been speculated about extensively this offseason. While Buffalo's offense is already loaded, an opportunistic add of Ertz would be the icing on the cake. He is due $8.5 million in base salary for 2021, the final year of a five-year extension. Buffalo might view this number as a bit steep after Ertz's quiet 2020 season, but if a world exists in which that number can be reduced via an extension, Buffalo could make the deal more palatable.
It won't be easy, as Buffalo must maintain an eye on the future with a looming Josh Allen megadeal, but it's a stone worth turning over.
Resolve cornerback Xavien Howard's contract situation
Among the players to bypass his team's mandatory minicamp was the All-Pro Howard, who is currently in the second season of a five-year extension. Howard is coming off of a remarkable campaign that included 10 interceptions and is not even the highest-paid cornerback on his own team (Byron Jones), which could be a logical root of why he's seeking a raise.
This could come down to principle and precedent: Miami likely believes that if it reworks Howard's deal just a year into the extension, it would open the door for others to follow the same pattern once they outperform their deals. It's a tricky one, but something has to be figured out one way or another.