The Patriots face a pivotal offseason as they embark on their first season without either Tom Brady or Bill Belichick, which is why New England should think twice before going after retread options.

Kirk Cousins is expected to be one of the top names in the free-agent market. The veteran signal-caller enters the void years in his massive contract with the Minnesota Vikings, who, like the Patriots, have unknown intentions at quarterback.

On one hand, Cousins makes sense for New England. Mac Jones was volatile in his past two seasons under center, and everyone with eyes could see that if the Patriots had a competent quarterback, they at least would have been in the wild-card chase.

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Cousins has proven to be just that for the Vikings. The 12-year pro has been very efficient under head coach Kevin O’Connell, and he’s produced solid enough numbers to make four Pro Bowls. The veteran also has done the bare minimum feeding the ball to Justin Jefferson and allowing him to showcase why he’s one of the best wide receivers in the NFL.

The case for Cousins in New England is simple, but there are more reasons why the Patriots shouldn’t pursue him. Minnesota and Cousins are at an impasse in renegotiations because the Vikings aren’t willing to give the QB a fully guaranteed contract, according to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer. Cousins had a fully guaranteed contract throughout his Minnesota tenure thus far and he might want one last payday before he retires.

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Cousins also is coming off an Achilles injury and entering his age-36 season. That is a dicey proposition for a team that, despite ambitious playoff expectations, is entering a rebuilding season under head coach Jerod Mayo.

It doesn’t take long to realize after seeing the full list of New England’s staff that the Patriots are embracing a youth movement after parting ways with Belichick. It would be wise of New England to also have that youth movement be reflected at quarterback. That’s not to say the Patriots still can’t sign a veteran, but Cousins clearly sees himself as a starter and doesn’t seem willing to accept a backup position just yet in his career.

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There might be a system fit with Alex Van Pelt and Cousins, but the Patriots just don’t have weapons close to the level of even the likes of Jordan Addison and T.J. Hockenson. Cousins is great at getting the ball to high-level talents, but he isn’t the kind of quarterback who can turn average players into elite playmakers.

The Patriots should move on from Jones and Bailey Zappe, but they should look elsewhere from the Cousins tier of quarterbacks in the free-agent market.

Featured image via Brad Rempel/USA TODAY Sports Images