Multiple deep-pocketed individuals are being mentioned as potential bidders for the Carolina Panthers, put up for sale in January by longtime owner and founder Jerry Richardson.

That could be good news for Richardson, who owns 48 percent of the franchise, and his minority partners.

The Panthers could sell for between $2.3 billion-$2.8 billion, experts say. And even the appearance of more credible bidders, some of whom the Observer has been able to verify, could mean a difference of a half-billion dollars in the value of the team.

That’s “billion” with a “b.”

And some Panthers minority owners, according to a source familiar with the process, are “hoping for it to be a nice bidding war.”

Having multiple offers on the table, according to Marc Ganis, a Chicago-based sports business consultant, is in Richardson’s best interest – but “only if they are credible bidders with cash and the ability to close.”

Viable names reported so far include billionaires David Tepper (by NFL Network) and Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta (by CBS’ Jason La Canfora), Ben Navarro and a group that includes Charlotte businessman Felix Sabates.