It's odd that three of the seven largest contracts in MLB history were signed in 2001 (by Rodriguez, Jeter, and Manny, respectively), according to Cot's Baseball Contracts. And only one of the ten largest contracts was signed between 2002 and 2008, and only four of the top 26 contracts were signed between 2003-2006.
Number of the 26 largest contracts signed in:
Is this just random chance? My guess is that broader economic trends, like the tech boom and bust, underlie these numbers, but it's hard to say. I wonder what it would look like if we analyzed the top 50 or 100 contracts.