Colin Cowherd’s explanation on why flexibility is so key for a NFL team to succeed

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Colin Cowherd talks Le'Veon Bell and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Find out why it is so important for the Black and Gold to keep cap flexibility if they want to win another Super Bowl.

- I've never understood this about sports fans. What you should root for as a sports fan is team flexibility. But yet, you're always rooting for the wrong thing. You're rooting for your star to get paid. And then in basketball, you pay Blake Griffin and you're trapped in Detroit. Or in Washington, you pay John Wall, and five years from now he's going to be making $42 million a year at 33 years old, and he's already had two surgeries, and he's hurt again.

That's not a win for you. That's a win for Blake Griffin. That's a win for John Wall. That's not a win for you. A win for you is flexibility. That you're not trapped. And a guy gets hurt and you still have to pay him. NBA's got a salary cap. NFL's got a salary cap. Hockey has a salary cap. You don't want to get trapped. But fans are always rooting for the athlete to get paid. No, no. Root for the team to win negotiations. So they have flexibility.

So Le'Veon Bell is a really good running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers. And the Pittsburgh Steelers-- one of the best three or four running backs in footballl-- Pittsburgh Steelers are going to franchise tag him. And he's not happy because the last time they franchise tagged him last year, he held out for camp. And then the first few weeks of the year he was rusty.

But what the franchise tag really is is a win for you, the fan. Because the franchise tag is saying, listen, we like this guy and think he's worth a lot of money. Doesn't matter if it's Kirk Cousins or Le'Veon Bell. What they're telling you is, but there's something about him that we don't want to get trapped. Kirk Cousins, he's just not that great. Le'Veon Bell, he's been suspended twice already. Lacks maturity.

So Le'Veon Bell came on my show a few months ago. And he's like, I want a long-term deal. I want a long-term deal. Here was Le'Veon Bell on The Herd a month ago.

- I mean, when I first came, it was me and DeMarco. Then the next year, it's me and Z. The next year, me and David Johnson. But every year, I'm always in the conversation. I catch the ball out of the backfield well. I never gave up a sack in my five years of playing football. So, I mean, my pass protection speaks for itself. You don't want to have to keep dealing with this situation over and over again. A one-year deal, one-year deal, one-year deal.

When you got a long-term deal, it's like you've got security. You know, you got a sense of security. A one-year franchise tag, if I go out there and get hurt first game of the season, I do something drastic. You know, Ryan Shazier. and what happened to him. Like, if something like that happened to me on a franchise tag, you know, I don't have no security on the back end.

- OK. Let's stop right there. You made $12 million last year. This franchise tag would pay you $14 million. That's $26 million in two years. That is security, unless you're buying mansions and horse farms by the truckload. Unless you're addicted to Maseratis and Long Island, and you're just buying the entire Long Island, $26 million in two years is financial security. But what a franchise tag is is we love you, but we have a concern.

He's been suspended twice. Last year they gave him a franchise tag and he held out, proving the Steelers' point. We're not sure if he's mature enough. Unless he gets exactly what he wants, and we all know in football, you don't get exactly what you want. But the Steelers-- as Chris Carter said this morning on "First Things First"-- they're making the right move and using the perfect element, the franchise tag, for this player.

- He's been suspended, all right? The Steelers had to deal with him for a number of different things off the field. NFL career, since the '70s has been 4.9 years. How many more-- and the running backs are less than that. So what is the window for him? We talk about Seattle with their window. Like what is the window for him from a health standpoint?

I think Pittsburgh did the right thing. When you have a Super Bowl quarterback, in Ben Roethlisberger, and you have the best wide receiver, in Antonio, who's being compensated, who just got a contract, you cannot put that percentage of the salary cap in your backfield.

- The franchise tag is a win for the fans. The reason football players have to be engaged. If they're not, they're gone. In baseball, Robinson Canó can sign a 10-year deal. Guaranteed. Does he have to be engaged? In the NBA, John Wall, Blake Griffin, Chandler Parsons, get monster contracts. What's the motivation?

Le'Veon Bell says, I want security. $26 million is security, unless you become addicted to mansions. He is a great player. But the concerns are maturity and health. And last year they franchised him, and to prove their concerns were right, he held out of camp.

Players see this as a negative. But if you are being paid $26 million in two years, unless you're LeBron, Michael Jordan, or Brady, you are being reasonably compensated. The win for the fans is not in player wealth. They're going to get theirs. The win for you has always been in team flexibility.