The proposed trade collapsed when Chicago asked for fellow linebacker Rocky McIntosh as part of the compensation package.
Five years later, Briggs has been to the Pro Bowl four times since the failed deal, and is one of the NFL's best paid 'backers.
McIntosh, on the other hand, remains an unrestricted free agent.
While McIntosh has made some visits, most recently to the New York Jets, he isn't widely regarded as a likely starter.
The versatility of McIntosh – who has played the weak side in both the 4-3 and 3-4, and has been inside in a 3-4 (even though he eventually lost his starting spot last season) – might make him attractive to a few teams.
But it's unlikely he's going to net a big deal and just as unlikely he'll be projected as a starter no matter where he goes.
Five years is an eternity in the NFL, and the divergent fates of Briggs and McIntosh is just one more reminder of that.
The NFL's competition committee has essentially handed off the two measures to the Management Council Executive Committee to bargain with the NFLPA over.
And given the current stance of the union and executive director DeMaurice Smith, which makes nothing automatic, the moves aren't exactly a slam-dunk.
Lamented one owner: "Nothing comes easy with those (NFLPA) guys. Even changes that make sense, like these two, they're ready to go to war over them. We'd hope they would go through, but you never know."
Notable was that the competition committee and the owners pretty much passed on a proposal that would have permitted a team a roster exemption for a player with a concussion. The move was somewhat surprising, given all the focus on head injuries lately. By the way, despite the tacit agreement on extending the trade deadline, there were some objections to it from a few owners.
At the league meeting this week, Miami owner Stephen Ross, in addition to suggesting that Matt Moore probably will be the team's starting quarterback on opening day, debunked reports that the Dolphins might allow Long to depart next spring, after choosing Stanford's Jonathan Martin in the draft last month.
Long has a base salary of $11.2 million in 2012, and a similar cap charge, and the Dolphins could reduce the latter with an extension.
That said, the Giants like what they've seen so far from rookie second-round steal Reuben Randle of LSU, feel that second-year veteran Jerrel Jernigan will be more than just a guy with great speed and quickness this year, and are heartened by the comeback of veteran Dominik Hixon after two straight years of knee surgeries.
Make no mistake, the Giants understand they're a better team with Nicks, teaming with Victor Cruz, but New York is a resourceful club with excellent leadership, and seems to know how to adapt to situations. "We've been here before," offensive lineman David Diehl said this week.
"Most of these guys aren't even in school anymore, and maybe haven't been for a while," one AFC owner noted to The Sports Xchange. "It's just ridiculous."
There's been no move to address the current rule, but it's very much on the minds of some owners and coaches.
One who declined to get into much detail about the situation was Colts owner Jim Irsay, whose team has been without top pick Andrew Luck or second-round tight end Coby Fleener because of the rule.
"We knew the situation when we picked those guys," Irsay said. "It's not like we weren't aware they wouldn't be around for a while."
But that won't be true if the change is adopted.
As the proposal is written, a team could only return a player injured "after reporting to training camp."
The league's reigning defensive player of the year, Suggs sustained his Achilles injury during an offseason workout and he would not be eligible for inclusion in the potential rules change.
Heck, because of injuries to two projected starters, the Panthers' linebacker corps was an embarrassment, period, at times in 2011.
But coach Ron Rivera and coordinator Sean McDermott seem to be pleased with the potential for the unit to dramatically improve over 2011. Barring injuries – and, granted, that's never a safe thing to do with the Carolina linebackers – the unit could be pretty good.
The selection of Boston College star Luke Kuechly in the first round, with the return of three-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker Jon Beason from an Achilles injury that limited him to one game last season, should provide the Panthers with plenty of flexibility.
Onetime weak-side starter Thomas Davis is trying to come back from another ACL surgery on his right knee – the third of his career and second in two seasons – so he's still a long shot. But if Davis can overcome the knee woes to be even a situational player, he'll add to what could suddenly be a fairly deep position. And that's not taking into account James Anderson, who set a franchise record for tackles last season as the strongside starter.
"So far, so good," Rivera said this week after an OTA session.
For now, Beason, who is being held out of the OTAs, is slated as the starter in the middle, and Kuechly will play on the weak side, although he has taken some snaps at middle linebacker. That could change in camp, but the plan seems to be to keep Beason, who has played weak linebacker in the past, at his most comfortable spot in the middle.
Kuechly, who played primarily in the middle in college but was on the field for all three downs, seems to have taken pretty well to the weak spot.
"He's really fast, not just in terms of running, but also in (smarts)," Beason said.
Kuechly, who had seven interceptions in his college career, including three in each of his final two seasons, was regarded by many scouts as a three-down defender, and is clearly more than just a middle run-stuffer.