Carolina is a natural landing place because Rice grew up an hour from Charlotte in Gaffney, S.C., and played at the University of South Carolina, 90 minutes from Carolina's Bank of America Stadium. The Panthers also are rebuilding their receiving corps.
But financially, Carolina has the least money to spend among the four teams interested. According to ESPN Stats and Information, the Panthers have $2,747,629 left under the salary cap. Seattle has the most room at $15,816,262, followed by the Giants ($4,079,849) and Saints ($3,732,116).
Rice, despite the injuries, still likely would demand more than any of those, with Cotchery ($1.7 million) counting the most against the cap.
Rice was a Pro Bowl receiver at Minnesota in 2009 when he had a career-best 83 catches for 1,312 yards and eight touchdowns. Since then he's been plagued by injuries that have limited him to 32 or fewer receptions in three of the past four seasons.
He has played only one full season since '09, catching 50 passes for 748 yards and seven touchdowns for Seattle in 2012.
But when healthy, he can be a weapon.
The Seahawks still seem the most likely landing spot for the seven-year veteran, because they have a need at receiver after free-agent losses and the most money to spend.