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This shouldn't be a shock to you, but NFL players get paid a lot of money. We can keep the surprises coming be telling you that players in today's game get paid more than players in the past. Like, A LOT more.

Lets start there, and lets do it with the team we're focusing on here...the New Orleans Saints.

If you look back at some of the greatest New Orleans Saints players from previous generations, versus today's players, you will see an incredible leap in contract pay and annual salaries. We can look at the two greatest quarterbacks in Saints' history to illustrate this, Drew Brees and Archie Manning.

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In 1981, Archie Manning was in his final full season with the Saints. He had done essentially everything he could do to try and get the Saints a winning season. By this point in his Saints career, he topped 3,000 yards in a season three times (a pretty incredible mark in the 1970s NFL where running the ball was still king), made 2 Pro Bowls, and had thrown double-digit touchdowns 5 times (again, it was a different NFL). All of this made him the highest paid player in the NFL in 1981...

Yeah, highest paid, but at $600,000 for the year. In today's money, with inflation under consideration, that number does go up...but not too much. It'd be around $2 million today. By comparison, Drew Brees' highest annual salary was $13.55 million in 2015. That Brees number is just his salary too, not including bonuses. The most he ever made in a year was $40 million in 2012, when he got a $37 million signing bonus.

Now, with numbers like that, we can add one more not-really-a-shocking statement: Drew Brees has earned more money from the Saints franchise than any other player in history. But...who's #2 on that last? Or #5...#12..what about #18? How many active players are on the list? Does Archie Manning or Ricky Williams make it in the Top 20? Lets find out:

Highest Career Earnings Paid By New Orleans Saints

We used the contract information provided by Spotrac to come up with this list. We based it on the amount of contract money paid by the New Orleans Saints to players, not their total career earnings. These earnings are up to the 2022 NFL Season.

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