That might be a minority opinion, but while the Patriots aren't as talented at the position today as they were with Cooks, they still have a strong enough depth chart that features two proven players in their system, as well as three former first-round draft picks.
The team will obviously fill out its depth chart to create some more competition -- perhaps free agent Jordan Matthews, who visited the Pats earlier this week, is part of that approach -- but the feeling here is that any addition would have a challenge ahead of them to earn a roster spot.
The current wide receiver breakdown:
Julian Edelman: Turning 32 on May 22, quarterback Tom Brady's go-to target is coming back from a torn ACL that cost him the entire 2017 regular season. His recovery continues to progress, and he's signed through 2019.
Chris Hogan: The 6-foot-1, 210-pound Hogan enters the final season of his three-year deal with the Patriots, coming off a regular season in which he missed seven games (shoulder). His versatility and knack for deep-ball prowess are two assets of note.
Phillip Dorsett: With Cooks not on the roster, the 5-foot-10, 185-pound Dorsett probably elevates to the title of "fastest Patriots receiver." Having been acquired last September in the Jacoby Brissett trade, he had to learn the offense on the fly, and perhaps his contributions will grow (12 catches in 2017) having a full offseason in the system. He entered the NFL as a first-round pick in 2015.
Malcolm Mitchell: A 2016 fourth-round pick out of Georgia who came through in the clutch in Super Bowl LI and developed a quick rapport with Tom Brady, the 6-foot-1, 200-pound Mitchell missed all of last season (knee). He previously said he's doing everything to put himself in position to be ready for organized team activities, and it looks like that has a good chance of being the case.
Cordarrelle Patterson: Acquired in a trade from the Raiders, the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Patterson runs well and projects as a top kickoff returner who might be able to contribute on offense in a different role. He entered the NFL as a first-round pick in 2013 and enters the last year of his contract.
Kenny Britt: The 6-foot-3, 223-pound Britt is a good example of how perceptions can change quickly; last year at this time he was considered a top-flight addition for the Browns as a free agent. A 2009 first-round pick, he has some unique traits that he didn't have a chance to show in New England after he joined the club in December. Similar to Dorsett, a full offseason in the system should give him a chance to show he's worthy of an expanded role.
Riley McCarron: An undrafted free agent out of Iowa, he spent 2017 training camp with the Texans before signing with the Patriots practice squad in the third week of the regular season. The 5-foot-9, 185-pound McCarron was recently lauded for his work ethic by coach Bill Belichick, as he looks to follow in the footsteps of other undrafted slot receivers, such as Wes Welker.
Cody Hollister: Hollister had carved out a niche in college at Arkansas on special teams, and showed last preseason that he can catch the ball as well. The 6-foot-4, 209-pound Hollister had joined the Patriots as an undrafted free agent in 2017.