Mike Wallace and the Panthers?

A lot of folks in the Carolinas are all excited after Panthers coach Ron Rivera vaguely implied his team might be interested in free-agent receiver Mike Wallace.

That’s understandable, because Wallace has big-play potential. He could be an immediate complement to Steve Smith and also could be Smith’s eventual replacement as the No. 1 receiver. It all sounds great in theory.

I don’t ever like to suggest that fans should curb their enthusiasm. But, in this case, I feel obligated to say Carolina fans should curb their enthusiasm.

There’s one huge obstacle to bringing in Wallace. That’s the salary cap.

Fact is, I just can’t see how the Panthers possibly could make Wallace fit in their cap situation. I doubt Wallace will command Vincent Jackson money (five years for $55 million), but he still is likely to get some decent offers, and I think it’s doubtful that one will come from the Panthers.

At the moment, they’re about $10 million over the anticipated salary cap. They’ll get under it by March 12 because they have to.

They’ll release some players and restructure some contracts. But it’s going to be hard for the Panthers to get far enough under the cap to make a run at Wallace, or any other free agent of consequence.

The Panthers can’t restructure too many more contracts and spread money into the future. The Panthers already have $139 million committed toward the 2014 salary cap.

They might have to just sit out free agency.