The Carolina Panthers face months of uncertainty. Their owner Jerry Richardson has said he plans to sell the team. Their lease with the city is through 2019.

Meanwhile, they have an interim GM in Marty Hurney, and coach Ron Rivera is under contract through 2018. Those in charge in Carolina want that to change.

One of the Panthers' most important tasks going forward is to extend Rivera's contract, and sources say that's exactly what they want to do. The team's brass agrees that stability is needed on the football side. Put that together with the job the former coach of the year is doing and it's an easy decision.

Talks are in their infancy, but they are expected to heat up soon.

Accordingly, the hope from many in the building is that Hurney stays on as GM, though an NFL official said the Panthers will have to go through the process and comply with the Rooney Rule before elevating him for good. Hurney will stay on -- at least -- through June. He has worked well with Rivera.

Rivera's last deal was a three-year, $19.5-million contract through 2018. If he was free or became available, he'd be coveted, including potentially by the Bears.