HOUSTON - Like Eli Manning, Phillip Rivers, and Ben Roethlisberger in 2004, or Dan Marino and John Elway in 1983, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Pat Mahomes and Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson will always be compared to one another by virtue of their age, position, talent, and draft spot.
And now their money can be compared, too. ... with Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott patiently waiting his turn.
On Saturday morning, the Texans came to an agreement with Watson on what John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reports is a "four-year extension with Deshaun Watson averaging $39 million a year with a $27 million signing bonus.
The ties that bind the two star AFC QBs are obvious.
Watson was selected just two picks behind Mahomes in the 2017 NFL Draft, and the pair have both flourished since, becoming two of the brightest young stars in today's NFL. And while the two both have similar traits, they are also very different players in some respects.
Mahomes' rise to success was meteoric in juxtaposition to Watson on paper, winning a regular-season MVP, a Super Bowl, and a Super Bowl MVP all in his second season as a starter.
Mahomes' stats have also been through the roof, with the 24-year-old throwing for 9,412 yards, 76 touchdowns, and just 12 interceptions, while completing 65.9-percent of his passes, with a 108.9 quarterback rating.
That said, Watson himself has also quickly risen to the top of the quarterback totem pole, and in some respects, the two-time Pro Bowler has had the edge on Mahomes.
In three seasons, Watson has thrown for 9,716 yards, 71 touchdowns, and 29 picks, while completing 66.8-percent of his passes with a 101 quarterback rating. Watson has also shown off his legs, rushing for 1,233 yards and 14 touchdowns.
And then came Mahomes' record-breaking 10-year $503 million deal that he signed in July, which included $63 million in guarantees at signing, and $141 million in case of injury.
Watson was expected to sign a similar deal, at least in terms of APY, at some point in the near future. And now he has, with the concept of "the $40 Million Quarterback'' becoming the norm.
Watson bristled a bit this week at the idea of comparisons.
"I focus on myself,” Watson said. “I'm not going to compare myself to no one else. Each one of us probably has different standards, different ways of how we approach the game. We all want to be legendary and champs, but there's different standards and different situations that we've got to focus on ... so we can't compare each other to one another.”
Of course, at the negotiating table, "comparisons'' are exactly what those involved focus on. Mahomes is a $40 mil guy. Deshaun is now a $40 mil guy. Dak Prescott? He has declined Dallas invitations to be a $30 mil guy, and then a $35 mil guy ...
And Deshaun Watson - now the second-highest-paid QB in NFL history (behind Mahomes, obviously) just showed everybody why Dak - making $31.409 million this year under a franchise tag and ready to try to negotiate with Dallas again next offseason - is happy to wait.
"I'm not a guy that looks at my future, to be honest. I really don't," Prescott said recently. "I can't look at tomorrow without taking care of today, and that's just the way I've been my whole life."
Well, "today'' is going to end up being something for Dak to look at. Because "today,'' Deshaun Watson just joined Pat Mahomes in helping Prescott eventually get paid.