With a record $1.4 billion in revenue last year, the NFL is looking to replenish its roster.
The league is already trying to fill some of the vacancies in its most important division, the NFC East.
The New York Giants are a prime candidate.
The team is in need of a starting cornerback and a second-round pick to add to the defense.
The Giants also need help at wide receiver, where New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is entering his second season.
But with only three other players signed to long-term deals, the team is also looking to sign players with expiring contracts.
The Giants have three quarterbacks and two running backs on the roster.
One of those players, former No. 1 overall pick Josh Johnson, signed with the Dallas Cowboys in the offseason.
Another, wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., is coming off a torn Achilles tendon.
The last player signed to a long-time deal with the Giants, tight end Cameron Brate, signed a one-year deal with New York in June.
But the Giants need to add at least one wide receiver.
The NFL has a policy that if a player is on the commissioner’s exempt list, he must be available for an active roster game.
That means players are not allowed to be on the field for a game if their team is eliminated from the playoffs or if they have yet to play a game.
The NFL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement prohibits players from being on the sideline if they are on an active active roster, a rule that has caused some friction in recent years.
The rule was added in 2009 and has been in place since.
In 2015, the Patriots were one of the few teams that used the rule to avoid having to play in the divisional round, a playoff game that would have eliminated them from the postseason.
The league is expected to discuss a rule change later this week that would allow players to be available if they were on the active roster but were on an exempt list.
That would allow teams to use a loophole to keep players on the team.
The teams that will likely face the most difficulty are the Los Angeles Chargers and Houston Texans, both in the NFC West.
The Chargers have a roster spot filled by a veteran corner.
The Texans have a wide receiver on the injured reserve list who has been on the practice squad since 2014.
If the league wants to create an environment for teams to keep young players, it must address the injury bug.
The issue has led to a glut of injuries in the NFL.
In the last three years, the average number of career games missed by players who were on injured reserve totaled more than 20 per year.
The average number suffered by players on injured list from 2016 to 2020 totaled 12.9.