After the 2003 season, quarterback Peyton Manning agreed to what was then a record $99.2 million, seven-year contract that contained a still-record $34.5 million signing bonus.
Before the start of training camp, Dwight Freeney signed a $72 million, six-year deal, making him the league's highest-paid defensive end. The contract included a $30 million signing bonus.
Now, Colts safety Bob Sanders has signed a five-year, $37.5 million contract with Indianapolis that includes $20 million in guaranteed money, according to NFL sources.
The contract makes Sanders, 26, the highest-paid safety in the NFL.
The Pro Bowl selection, whose playoff performance sparked the Colts on their run to a Super Bowl victory last season, would have been an unrestricted free agent after this season. Sanders is a strong contender for this year's NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors.