Saints among biggest 2013 spenders

The New Orleans Saints ranked fifth in the NFL in the amount of money spent on players in 2013, according to the ESPN The Magazine/Sportingintelligence Global Salary Survey.

The Saints spent a total of $116.4 million, which came to an average of $2.196 million per player, based on a 53-man roster. The four teams who spent more were the Minnesota Vikings ($122.7 million), Seattle Seahawks ($122.1), Chicago Bears ($118.5) and Denver Broncos ($117.3).

Those figures aren’t the same as salary-cap figures, because they account for actual money spent in 2013 -- including signing bonuses.

That’s why Saints quarterback Drew Brees didn’t rank among the top-10 highest-paid NFL players in 2013. Although Brees averages $20 million per year, he only made $10 million in salary and bonuses in 2013. He made $40 million in 2012, including a $37 million signing bonus.

Fellow NFL players who signed new deals or extensions last year ranked higher on the list (Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, Tom Brady, Joe Flacco, Matt Ryan and Tony Romo, for example).

It’s interesting to note how low all NFL teams rank on the overall list among all sports teams around the world. No NFL teams rank in the top 100 on a per-player basis (in part because their rosters are so much larger than basketball, soccer and baseball teams).

But even when it comes to total spending, no NFL teams ranked in the top 20, which was completely made up of major league baseball and international soccer teams. The top three spending teams in all sports last year were the Los Angeles Dodgers ($241.1 million), New York Yankees ($208.8) and Manchester City ($202.7).