So far he hasn't. But it's the 3rd day of free agency. Don't jugde too quickly. Hankins was brough it one MONTH into the free agency.
Doing what the Jaguars do right now is easy. They are all in for 2018. But the price of that is, that that team will blow off in 2 years. Just look at their projected 2020 cap situation. They have 20 players signed, and those 20 players eat the WHOLE cap space already. Because they structured their contracts "cap friendly". Yeah, its cap friendly for 2018, but a cap hell for 2020. In 2 years they will have to let go most of their big name veterans, will have to swallow a ton of dead cap, and wont be able to sign a freaking yourneyman to replace them. Heck, they wont even be able to resign their own guys, Ramsey, Ngkagoue, etc.
That's not what Ballard is doing. He builds for the long term. And that requires a different approach. Having 75 mills of cap space sounds a lot, but it's actually not that much. First, we will need 10 mills for the draft. Then, we will need 5-6 mills for mid season movements. Then Ballard will keep another 10-15 to sign mid-summer low cost free agents. There will be cuts later, teams will cut valuable pieces to fit under the cap after the draft, and Ballard wants leverage to go after them. Then Colts will roll some money over for next year, as they did last year, rolling over 16 mills. They do it because they are building for long term, so they will need future money to keep their own guys, who really are key pieces. Not just Hooker, but Sheard, Hankins too. They are also young, Ballard doesn't want to let them go at age 27-28, if they still produce. But he will have to pay them. So depending on how much he wants to roll over, remove let's say 15. My bet is that he wants to stockpile it a bit, so he will roll over more than he did last year, so the number will be closer or over to 20 than 15, let's just remove 15. And now, let's do the math, it's easy:
75-10-5-15-15 => 30. That's the money he intends to spend. He already spent 6.5 on Autry (because what he actually does, it he FRONT loads contracts a bit, so they count less against the cap next year and on, giving him more leverage). That's 28.5. Now, he has to sign: OL, TE, CB, RB, WR, etc. And fit them under 28.5 mill (let's say 30), BUT DONT BACKLOAD them because, again, we build for the long term, so we want leverage.
Now, lets sit down with Ryan Jensen's agent, and tell him how much we are willing to spend on him. And how long of a contract we are willing to give him. Remember, we want guys to FINISH their contracts. We don't want to cut them after two years if they play well. (Those teams who sign for 2018/2019 do not care about the 3rd or 4th year, they already know they will cut the guy. And loose on it, but they don't care because they are willing to swallow the long term loss for the price of being even a slighty better in 2018).
This does not justify why we did not sign Newton. We could have. Or we could have signed Jensen, etc. I just tried to put this into perspective. Ballard knows Newton or Jensen would've made this team better in 2018. But he also knows that they wouldn't have made us contenders. And their price tag might've hurt our future plans. He factored all these in his decision. Which might be right. Or wrong. He commits mistakes for sure. Everyone does. All I am saying is, I think I understand the big picture why he seem "sitting on his butt doing nothing", when he actually doesnt.