For a Cardinals franchise that was last in a weak NFC West division last season, failure to sign Fitzgerald would be detrimental.
Through Fitzgerald's first seven seasons in the league, he has been selected to play in the Pro Bowl five times and has 65 receiving touchdowns while averaging nearly 1,200 receiving yards per season. By all accounts, Fitzgerald is a top-five wide receiver in the NFL, and at just 27 years old, he should remain in his prime for three to five more seasons.
Of course, there is no use in the Cardinals dishing out the money to sign Fitzgerald to an extension without having a quality quarterback to throw him the football.
Last season, the Cardinals were never able to find a reliable starting quarterback, going with the subpar combination of Derek Anderson, Max Hall and John Skelton. Somehow, Fitzgerald still managed to rack up 1,137 receiving yards and six touchdowns in 2010, earning Pro Bowl honors.
However, those numbers pale in comparison to the 1,262 receiving yards and 12.5 touchdowns that Fitzgerald averaged in 2008 and 2009 during Kurt Warner's last two seasons.
More importantly, the Cardinals won 19 games in those two seasons with Kurt Warner before dropping to just five wins last year.
Fitzgerald has made it clear that he wants Arizona to sign one of the better quarterbacks available, like a Kevin Kolb or a Marc Bulger, in order for the team to regain its competitive edge.
Without a quality quarterback, it is very difficult for an offense to be efficient. And in order to maximize Fitzgerald's potential, it is necessary to have a quarterback that is able to throw the ball where only he can catch it.
At this point, it seems likely that Arizona will sign Fitzgerald to an extension in the upcoming weeks, and they should also be able to obtain a quarterback that is better than any of the three who started for the the team last season.
After all, Fitzgerald is clearly the face of the Cardinals franchise, as well as a special talent in this league.