Patriots wide receiver expresses frustration about being inactive another week

Sep 10, 2023; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Kayshon Boutte (80)
Sep 10, 2023; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Kayshon Boutte (80) / Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

A lot is on the line for the Patriots this week as they take on the Raiders in another must-win game of the 2023 season. The rumored offensive changes that Bill Belichick alluded to after their blowout loss to the Cowboys have seemingly taken shape, as Bailey Zappe was announced as inactive, and rookie Malik Cunningham was signed to the game-day roster on Saturday.

But that has been the most significant change the team has seen since last week's game, other than Demario Douglas and JuJu Smith-Schuster not making the trip due to each dealing with concussions.

Tyquan Thornton was reactivated after starting the season on injured reserve, and Jalen Reagor was elevated from the practice squad, leaving Kayshon Boutte as a healthy scratch once again.

Despite his late standout performances during training camp, the rookie wide receiver continues to be in the Belichick doghouse since he fumbled in week one, and there doesn't appear to be an end in sight, even though the receiving corps will be short-staffed on Sunday.

And apparently, Patriots fans are not the only ones frustrated about Boutte's absence.

Before Sunday's game, the receiver took to his Instagram stories and posted a simple message, "Free me." It's a simple message with a weighted meaning, as it could ultimately be interpreted in multiple ways.

Does he want to be free, as in given playing time? Or does he want off the Patriots to have an opportunity elsewhere?

Regardless, his frustration is valid, especially since the offense needs as much help as it can get at this point. Boutte could be a potential boost to the offense that could yield the results they've desired all season, but Belichick seems set on keeping him sidelined.

It looks counterproductive when your team is in hot water and has an incredible challenge ahead of them in the Raiders, particularly when you remember how their last meeting ended. Hopefully, Boutte's absence won't look like an even bigger mistake as the game gets going, or else Belichick will deserve more criticism with his roster decisions this season.