Former Steelers running back Jonathan Dwyer didn't get screwed over. He's not a victim of anything.
His last six months, though, can be seen as a testament to the brutal nature of this business.
Let's review his timeline:
Released at the end of training camp in something of a surprise move, but not entire unexpected. Re-signed a few weeks later when it was clear Isaac Redman wasn't getting the job done, and prized RB Le'Veon Bell was held out longer than initially anticipated with a foot injury. Also, 2013 free agent signee LaRod Stephens-Howling was placed on injured reserve with a torn ACL.
Dwyer languished on the bench when Bell came back, showing passion and aggression in his spot opportunities.
According to Tribune-Review writer Mark Kaboly, the Steelers had no interest in bringing Dwyer back. Just judging by the 20ish carries he had over the course of last year, it doesn't seem like performance was an issue - even if it would have been clear the Steelers weren't looking for a starter.
Dwyer was in Arizona today for a visit and it was all but done this afternoon. Steelers weren't interested in bringing him back.— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly_Trib) March 13, 2014
Now, he takes the path often traveled for Steelers free agents; heading down to Arizona. He'll likely be in the mix to compete for a certain amount of carries, and perhaps he'll take that and do well with it.
What are the Steelers going to do? There's no need for panic or anything, finding a back-up running back is far from difficult in today's NFL. But there is literally no depth behind Bell on the roster right now. Odds are good they won't want to use two draft picks on running backs, and bolster their second-year starter with two rookies. So signing a veteran at some point makes sense.
If not Dwyer, a running back familiar with the system and respected by his teammates (reportedly), who will it be?