For purposes of respecting the Patriots dominant two-tight end set, there are technically two starting spots up for grabs for natural wide receivers in the base offense.
Even that isn't technically true, because not everyone can do what Wes Welker does in the slot. In the same respect, not everyone can do what projected starter Brandon Lloyd can do as an outside, downfield threat.
I think we can begin to piece together what the depth charts will look like from there though. Considering the team would also want a "starting" third receiver, a designated fourth and then backups for significant starters, it's conceivable that they could carry six, maybe seven receivers total.
Lock Welker and Lloyd in.
Mathew Slater can be counted as a special teams player for purposes of this argument.
I think Julian Edelman knows enough of the Patriots playbook to make an argument for his inclusion as an all around-lock, but it's just hard to gauge his long-term prospects and overall ceiling.
Britt Davis was signed to the practice squad in January so he doesn't have to count against the depth restrictions here either.
So that leaves about four spots for the remaining six players under contract.
Donte Stallworth, Chad Ochocinco, Deion Branch, Anthony Gonzalez, and Tiquan Underwood.
Consider too that Belichick has hinted the team may still target a wideout in the upcoming draft. That prospect would almost certainly get a guaranteed roster spot.
If I had to pick three I'd take Ochocinco, Branch, and Gonzalez. If Gonzo doesn't end up healthy and Stallworth has some juice I wouldn't be surprised to see him stick on either.