If this were to have taken place on Monday, then the Giants would have gained $2,249,000 in cap space ($2,879,000 - $630,000). If Cruz's tender amount were to be dropped to $630,000 on Monday, then the Giants' cap number would have jumped from being $3,308,682 to $5,557,682---a much healthier cap figure. Generally speaking, teams with cap figures above $5 million are in good enough shape to begin the regular season since that amount of cap space now corresponds to a good enough number to deal with regular season operational expenses.
Lots of people--including myself--didn't think the Giants would do this, so Cruz's decision to sign the tender today to protect himself in case the Giants did decide to go this route proved the be the correct move (assuming of course that this was going to happen, which we have no way of knowing for sure unless someone in the giants' front office admits to it--which they obviously won't). If the Giants were able to gain this extra cap space, it would have given the Giant a more realistic chance to go after the services of FA Fullback Vonta Leach. Reportedly, the Giants have already told Leach's agent to keep them in the loop regarding his client's situation. If they had this extra room next week, who knows what would have happened on this front.
Going forward, the Giants will have to deal with both of their starting WRs potentially becoming Unrestricted Free Agents after next season if they aren't extended before then. As long as Cruz shows up at the start of training camp on July 26th, he won't be subject to any fines, but if he doesn't then the game could get ugly then. The only reason Cruz wasn't fined for missing OTAs and mini-camp was because he wasn't under contract. Although he counted against the cap at $2.879 M the moment the Giants tendered him, the fact that he didn't sign it protected him from potentially being fined for missing OTAs and mini-camp. Stevie Brown and Andre Brown--the Giants' other two Restricted Free agents this offseason signed theirs after waiting a little but, but had much less leverage then Cruz since they're not considered players with big money potential and were facing stiffly increasing competition in training camp.
Any way you slice it, Cruz will be a Giant in 2013 unless he decides to sit out the upcoming season and forgo a year of fee agency eligibility by not being with the team in training camp 30 days prior to the beginning of the NFL regular season on Thursday, September 5th, something which he will most certainly not do. We'll probably see Cruz with the club by that August 6th Unrestricted free agency eligibility deadline for 2014 for that reason alone. After that though, things may get interesting. We'll wait and see what happens with this rumored Cruz extension, but one thing is sure: the Giants set a price limit on their players, and don't go beyond it, as indicated in this tweet by Ms. Kinkhabwala: