After watching the Lombardi Trophy slip through their grasp and land in the possession of the Kansas City Chiefs for the second time in five years, the San Francisco 49ers should be completely focused on finally finishing the job in the 2024-25 season. Though, that is a difficult declaration to make when they are still dealing with a colossal contract headache.

Brandon Aiyuk is not present at organized team activities (OTAs), as he seeks to become the latest star wide receiver to sign a huge contract extension. This conflict has been brewing since almost immediately after Super Bowl 58 concluded, and now it is escalating to alarming levels. As more time passes without a resolution, San Fran's championship chances are at risk of diminishing.

Naturally, this process has been borderline unbearable for 49ers fans. But they are probably relieved to gain some clarity on the situation, which comes in the form of Aiyuk's reported asking price.

Apparently the Second-Team All-Pro wants to be compensated at “a number equal to or higher” than Detroit Lions' Amon-Ra St. Brown, according to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN (via NBC Sports' Michael David Smith). In April, the 24-year-old wideout signed a four-year, $120 million extension worth $77 million in guarantees. He is set to earn an average salary of $28 million for the first three years of the deal.

The Niners will groan at that figure. Forking over such sums of money to Brandon Aiyuk likely means that another high-end player would have to be dealt away. Deebo Samuel has been linked to trade rumors for some time and could logically be moved to accommodate a potential Aiyuk extension.

It is clear, however, that general manager John Lynch and the San Francisco shot-callers have not yet decided if they are willing to make such a lofty commitment to the disgruntled receiver.

49ers' Brandon Aiyuk vs. Lions' Amon-Ra St. Brown

At first glance, many football fans will scoff at the supposed demand. St. Brown has recorded 225 receptions for 2,676 yards across the last two regular seasons, while Aiyuk has 2,357 receiving yards during that same span. He has never tallied more than 78 receptions in his four-year career.

However, the two talents live under vastly different offensive circumstances. St. Brown has the luxury of amassing an absurd target volume (ranked fifth with 164 in 2023-24), with tight end Sam LaPorta being the only other Lions pass-catcher to garner 100-plus looks from quarterback Jared Goff. Aiyuk barely eclipsed 100, due to the presence of George Kittle, Deebo Samuel and Christian McCaffrey (all had 80-plus targets).

Also working in the favor of the former Arizona State standout is the 14.6 yards per catch he averages in his NFL career, which decisively bests the 11.4 mark set by the USC product. These are arguments Brandon Aiyuk and his agent are surely making at the negotiation table.

But the hesitance he is drawing from the other side is probably being bolstered by an overall underwhelming performance in this past playoffs.

Can Brandon Aiyuk consistently rise to the occasion?

49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk catches the ball over Lions cornerback Kindle Vildor in the third quarter of the NFC championship game at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California,

Aiyuk's sensational grab versus the Lions in the NFC Championship sparked a thunderous comeback victory, and thus must be properly acknowledged. When looking at the entire body of postseason work, however, Aiyuk did not perform at a level commensurate with a premium WR.

The big plays are crucial, but more volume was needed in that title run. At 26, the Rocklin, California native is undeniably a valuable asset who can elevate teams to dangerous heights. Though, there are still questions about his ability to be the “top guy” on a Super Bowl-winning squad.

Based on how contract talks progress, fans will know where the 49ers ultimately stand regarding this dilemma.