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Ron Rivera hints Carolina Panthers like Mike Wallace

In an effort to surround quarterback Cam Newton with weapons, it wouldn't be surprising to see the Carolina Panthers go after a wide receiver in the 2013 NFL Draft. Another option is free agency, where Mike Wallace, Dwayne Bowe and Greg Jennings are expected to receive plenty of attention on the open market.

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Newton and receiver Steve Smith were a productive duo in 2012, connecting 73 times for 1,174 yards and four touchdowns. Smith, however, is 33 years old, and the Panthers could use someone else to stretch the field. Brandon LaFell hasn't evolved into a difference-maker.

NFL.com's Steve Wyche asked Panthers coach Ron Rivera on Tuesday if Wallace is a target in free agency.

"You're warm, but you know, what's going to be interesting is how things unfold once we get to March 12," Rivera said on "NFL AM" from the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. "There's a lot of things that are out there that we have to really take into consideration. You know, we'll see how things are going to affect us when we get to the 12th."

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The problem for the Panthers is a crippling salary-cap situation. They're still in the process of trimming about $10 million from the payroll. Veterans might be purged, but the Panthers aren't in a great place to add Wallace, who's certain to be an expensive target and pursued by multiple teams.

From where we stand today, a receiver-rich draft class gives the Panthers more realistic options to upgrade their group of pass-catchers.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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