Geno Smith is the New York Jets “anybody but him” quarterback

Remember when Geno Smith was expected to be the quarterback that would make the New York Jets playoff contenders from the moment he was drafted by them? Felt like a decade ago, hasn’t it?

Smith is the current top quarterback on the Jets depth chart and is practicing without his two top receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. That’s because the quarterback they like is still a free agent, trying to get only one team to sign him for an amount that the front office simply doesn’t want to pony up.

Why not catch passes for Smith? What does their absence in protest say about their confidence in him? Why isn’t Ryan Fitzpatrick back with the team?

This is what Smith had to deal with in the first practice open to reporters.

“That’s up to the front office and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Why would I speak on that?” said Smith defensively towards the media scrum, reportedly refusing to answer any follow-up questions from that particular writer.

The better question is why should he speak on Fitzpatrick, putting him in a position to look like a fool and be the subject of ridicule for the first time since a teammate punched him in the face and ending his 2015 season before we even got to Week 1.

Which by the way is exactly how we got to this position with Fitzpatrick becoming the Jets quarterback and now trying to parlay a great season (by his and Jets standards) into a big payday. A pay day not exclusive to the likes of Sam Bradford and Chase Daniels, who play for the Philadelphia Eagles and wear a different shade of psycho green.

Smith is clearly in the “anybody but him zone”. Nobody believes that the Jets will win much with him behind center, not even his own receivers. Otherwise why else would they be sitting out of practice while displaying frustration over the front office trying to low ball the best quarterback they’ve had since … Chad Pennington?

“I don’t think they’ve said anything negative about me,” Smith said with the typical shrug. “I do understand those guys. … We all had a wonderful year last year. I don’t want to speak on anyone else’s statements, but it doesn’t rub me the wrong way.”

The practices are voluntary at this stage of the longest offseason in sports. But it’s obvious that if Fitzpatrick signed with someone else and not a possibility to rejoin the Jets, Smith would be the least desirable starting quarterback option in the Meadowlands.

It would be a matter of time before the fan base start to wish some crazy fringe player broke Smith’s jaw again so Christian Hackenberg or even Bryce Petty got a chance for their NFL careers to shine.

“There’s pretty good camaraderie in that room right now,” Hackenberg told reporters. “I feel pretty accepted.”

That is until the point where he or Petty ultimately fails to deliver the Jets to the playoffs and eventually have the same treatment wished upon them as their predecessor.

Eventually Fitzpatrick will likely sign with the Jets for more or less than the current offer. He really has nowhere to go. He’d be in Denver by now had the Broncos offered him anything.

Having the team’s top two wide receivers skip out of practice says more about their dissatisfaction towards Smith than their solidarity towards Fitzpatrick.

Thanks ESPN.com!

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About: Tony Capobianco

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Sports Kave senior writer and podcast host

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