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Geno Smith mum on Ryan Fitzpatrick contract drama

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Geno Smith is, by far, the best option for the New York Jets at quarterback right now. Of course, it's not that simple. With the Jets, it never is.

The Jets continued organized team activities Wednesday, hosting their first practice open to media members. What outsiders saw was Smith, now entering his fourth season, crisp and comfortable in 7-on-7 drills while prospects Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg did their best to keep up.

But it is the quarterback who wasn't on the practice field that continues to be the big story. The Jets have said that Ryan Fitzpatrick will step back into his starting role if the two sides can end their contract stalemate. That leaves Smith in an awkward position -- he's the best quarterback on a team that might decide it has no use for him at the end of the summer.

"Every player in the NFL, I think, deserves a fair opportunity," Smith said after practice, according to ESPN.com's Rich Cimini. "Whether or not that's the case (for me), who knows? I believe I do have an opportunity here and I just have to take advantage of it."

Smith bristled when a reporter asked about Fitzpatrick's contract situation.

"That's up to the front office and Ryan Fitzpatrick," he replied. "Why would I speak on that?"

Cimini reported that Smith refused to take any other questions from that particular reporter.

Meanwhile, Smith was practicing without some high-profile teammates. Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker and Nick Mangold were all absent, starting speculation that the veterans -- who have all spoken out in support of Fitzpatrick -- are sitting out voluntary workouts in act of solidarity toward Fitzpatrick.

NFL Media's Kimberly Jones asked Jets coach Todd Bowles if there was any connection.

"I don't think so," he replied. "You'd have to ask them but I don't think so."

A lack of roster clarity in May isn't going to ruin a season, but it's hard to deny that the Fitzpatrick impasse isn't a significant distraction right now. We imagine it gives Fitzpatrick a little bit of leverage as we head toward summer, but not enough for the Jets to blink.

The biggest loser right now might be Smith, who will continue to live in very public limbo until Fitzpatrick's situation is finally resolved.

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